During his strategic update to investors earlier this week, one key point outlined by Ford Motor Company President and CEO Jim Hackett is that the company is hard-at-work on accelerating the introduction of “smart, connected” vehicles engineered for the motoring environment of the future. We imagine this mostly means vehicles with built-in modems providing onboard 4G LTE and SYNC Connect services from a customer’s mobile device, but it could also conjure vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications.
Ford says that by 2019, every new Ford vehicle in the US will ship with connectivity, and its global products will follow a similar path, with 90 percent of new vehicles in China, Europe, and other markets packing connectivity. V2V and V2I communications will play a pivotal role in the future of automotive safety, but Ford has made no attempt to forecast a timeline for the arrival of those technologies in its own cars. SYNC Connect, which allows customers to remotely start, lock or unlock their Ford vehicle; check the fuel level or charge status; and more, debuted on the 2017 Ford Escape.
Placing an embedded modem in a vehicle can enable other nifty features, as well, such as allowing the vehicle to broadcast a mobile WiFi hotspot, stream multimedia, and receive over-the-air software patches or real-time traffic updates using mobile data.