A New Ford Innovation – Developing Easy-To-Use Software For Onboard Computers

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Ford dealers have always sold and serviced vehicles, but now they are expanding their services by upgrading and releasing new software to assist customers who own vehicles with the MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch systems found in the new Explorer, Edge and some Focus models.

In the past five years car manufacturers have been introducing more and more new technologies into their vehicles. Today’s car shoppers not only want to know horsepower and performance, but they want to know Bluetooth-capability and infotainment options as well.

More than 150,000 vehicles have been sold with the MyFord Technology. Some of these owners have had difficulty with the advanced in-vehicle technology system. Some media critics have panned the MyFord Touch system while others have praised it.

The key elements of the performance upgrade plan will focus on improved quality through better system stability, improved voice recognition and software updates. The upgrade will improve performance and usability with improved screen refresh rates, improved response to touch, new simplified screens and easier phone pairing. New features will include ability to handle audible (book) files, better message access profile (voice to text conversion), better tablet compatibility and new map data.

In mid-December 2011 about 1,000 MyFord and MyLincoln Touch owners (Red Carpet lessees in the Michigan area) were randomly selected to conduct an extensive Beta Test. The testing will put the new software through a variety of tests and engineers will have the opportunity to make any adjustments before the release of the final upgrade. According a representative from Ford’s In-Vehicle Technology support center, the upgrade is scheduled for release in first quarter 2012. An exact date has not been set pending results from the Beta Test.

Ford said the performance upgrade plans to date include an offer to the customer to receive USB flash drives or SD cards (if their vehicle is nav equipped) along with instructions that will be mailed to them so they can install the software themselves.

The customers may request their dealer execute the Performance Upgrade. If they make that choice, they will be asked to bring in the USB or SD card they received in the mail so the dealer can make the installation. An additional 1-year warranty extension will be offer to all customers receiving the Performance Upgrade.

The surprising thing is that, one, Ford is a kind of a pioneer bringing this much computing power to the vehicle, and, two, that they are willing to offer a completely rewritten software interface at no charge to its customers – at no additional charge. That would be like Microsoft bowing to criticism over it’s bug-ridden Vista software and giving all of its customer the Windows 7 software for free. It seems like this automobile/vehicle technology company likes to listen to is customers.

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