We’ve known for some time that Ford’s new fully-networked electrical architecture would allow its vehicles to receive over-the-air-updates, beginning with the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E and 2021 Ford F-150. Now, the automaker has a name for its OTA technology – Ford Power-Up software updates, which it just announced, along with a host of enhancements owners can expect in the coming months.
“Software updates are common across billions of connected devices but not yet for vehicles. Ford Power-Up software updates will change that by quickly bringing it to millions of people,” said Alex Purdy, director, business operations, enterprise connectivity, Ford Motor Company. “We’ve invested in more seamless technology so updates can happen while you’re sleeping – making your next ride a better experience.”
The first batch of Ford Power-Up software updates began rolling out in March for the Mach-E and F-150, but many more are on the way. That includes a large-scale rollout of hands-free Amazon Alexa connectivity that functions just like Alexa-connected home devices. The Alexa features will be rolled out to 700,000 Ford vehicles this year in the Ford Bronco, Ford Edge, Mach-E, and Ford Super Duty. Additionally, the FordPass skill for Alexa allows owners to control vehicle functions from home, using only their voice.
In addition to this hands-free Alexa technology, Ford is also working with Amazon on a series of enhanced features and commercial services, including custom Alexa skills for commercial customers. These new features will be rolled out over the course of the next six years, at which point Ford expects Alexa integration will reach millions of vehicles.
“We’re excited to work with Amazon to bring powerful new AI-enabled experiences to Ford customers,” Purdy said. “We believe in the power of teaming up with other innovators. Bringing Ford’s vehicle know-how together with Amazon’s technology expertise will deliver in-vehicle capabilities that help our retail customers travel more enjoyably and with ease while helping our commercial customers operate more profitably.”
In addition to enhanced Alexa features, Ford Power-Up software updates have already added Sketch to the Mach-E, which can be used as a touchscreen drawing pad and simple gaming vessel. Additional enhancements coming to the Mach-E in the coming weeks include Trip Logs and Remote Vehicle Setup, which allows users to store preferences such as radio presets in the cloud.
Both the 2021 F-150 and Mach-E will also soon gain a variety of SYNC 4 and SYNC4A updates including navigation enhancements, updates to the digital owner’s manual, the ability for Apple CarPlay to display navigation directions in the instrument cluster, and the recently-announced BlueCruise hands-free highway driving technology (on properly equipped models with an additional software purchase).