By loading software onto its vehicles through Wi-Fi, Ford expects to save millions. But this technology could be used to provide drivers the option of handpicking their car's features, much like apps do for smartphones.
Wi-Fi was first introduced in Ford vehicles with SYNC, its voice activated system that turns your car into a roving Wi-Fi hotspot. Now, Wi-Fi is being used for a new application in their Oakville, Ontario plant: to install phone and entertainment features in the production line of select vehicles. Loading the software this way has resulted in a less than 1% failure rate so far, and it has reduced labor costs since it's hands-free.
But what's most interesting about this method of transmitting software is its potential for customization. By wirelessly programming cars, drivers could set details like how quickly the transmission shifts gears, choose power-seat preferences, or a hundred other little personalizations that would make your vehicle unique. Currently, they have a common programmable electronic component that would provide over 90 such options.
It's the perfect solution for automakers, who want to provide their customers with unique vehicles without spending a fortune assembling all those different vehicles. The system is not without fault, though—the car's electronics could become susceptible to hackers, viruses, or unforeseen errors. Luckily, Ford is starting this process exclusively with infotainment, so there's no chance that your car's controls will be hijacked by some teen maliciously coding from their parent's basement. [WSJ]