Ford is using Wi-Fi to deliver SYNC software to the 2011 Edge, 2011 Explorer, and 2011 Lincoln MKX. Having Wi-Fi capability on the assembly line saves manufacturing complexity and money, Ford notes.
"Using wireless software installation via Wi-Fi, we can stock just one type of SYNC module powering MyFord Touch and loaded with a basic software package," said Sukhwinder Wadhwa, SYNC global platform manager. "We eliminate around 90 unique part numbers, each of which would have to be updated every time a change is made - this system really boosts quality control."
Now that the SYNC-powered MyFord Touch has a Wi-Fi receiver, Ford can capitalize on this technology. Currently, only the Oakville, Ontario plant making the new Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX have this ability, but the plants making the 2011 Explorer and 2012 Focus are scheduled to be get this upgrade, too.
In July, Ford sent vehicles through the Wi-Fi access point to work out the kinks in the system.
"Turning an assembly plant - with steel beams everywhere and high-voltage cabling throughout; everything you could imagine that would interfere with a radio signal - into an access point that would achieve 100 percent success was a huge challenge," said Wadhwa.