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Ford Authority

Ford Dealers Now Receiving High Tech Headsets For Service Departments

Back in December, Ford Authority reported that Ford dealers would be receiving  “see what I see” headset diagnostic tools consisting of a wearable headset and software that allows technicians to make hands-free audio and video calls with Ford’s Technical Assistance Center, which can, in turn, share relevant repair information with the techs in real-time. A pilot program found that the technology led to reduced vehicle downtime, expedited technical assistance, and a much more effective way to connect with subject matter experts, and now, RealWear’s HMT-1 (head-mounted tablet) assisted-reality system is on its way to 3,000 Ford dealers across the U.S., according to Automotive News.

The headsets are very similar to wearable computers and feature voice-activated command capability, giving the automaker’s Technical Assistance Center the ability to see exactly what technicians see and then use that information to suggest repairs while also allowing the tech to continue working with both hands rather than having to hold a device or even a phone. Eventually, Ford says that technicians will also be able to order parts directly from the headset, too.

The headsets retail for around $1,800 each, but in many cases, have already prevented misdiagnosed, pricey repairs, including one on a Ford GT that was entering failsafe mode once it hit 160 miles-per-hour on the track. One of just 50 techs certified to work on the GT – Richard Hershey – was able to guide a dealer in the right direction and rather than replacing the transaxle, some new sensors solved that particular issue. “This is more cost-effective, user-friendly and quicker,” Hershey said. “On one car, it could save you a month. Without the SWIS device, they would just be guessing.”

These new headsets are one of many changes Ford dealers have faced in recent months, as the automaker recently began asking techs to submit photos of quality issues when they’re discovered. Additionally, those interested in becoming a Ford technician and working on hybrid and electric vehicles will now be able to do so via a new curriculum in the automaker’s existing ASSET training.

We’ll have more on this new technology soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comment

  1. KCC

    Ford dealerships will still have some of the worst technicians, even with these headsets. Maybe ford should invest in hiring people that have real mechanical experience and training. There are no requirements to be hired as a ford “technician” at any of the dealerships in North Dakota. Many will hire 16 to 18 year-olds with no experience and all they need to do is complete a 2 week ford “training” course that ends with an open book test. If they pass they are given the title of technician. Most ford techs, even after years of working at a ford dealership, can’t even name common parts or even know what many of the tools they should be using are called. I had a 2019 ranger with a horrible vibration and a clunk in the rear end with every gear change. Went to 5 dealerships and got the same answer at each one, “we ran a diagnostic and there were no codes that showed any transmission or rear differential issues.” When I asked if they ran a vibration study, checked balance on the driveshaft or removed the rear diff cover to inspect the spider gears, they all said no, because the diagnostic scan came back as everything was operational. None of them even test drove the pile of junk. From the factory the driveshaft had about a dozen 1-inch by 1.5-inch balancing weights tack welded in various spots, that should have never gotten through quality control. The driveshaft was out of phase, which caused it to have a high amount of tension and further caused the issues with the clunking. The over-phasing and vibration wore on the spider gears and was jumping teeth on the gears. $35,000 pile of crap.
    I ended up finding a ford dealership to take it in on trade with an agreement over the phone. I even left the truck at my mother’s place and talked them into bringing a truck to me, over 2 hours away, so I could test drive it. They actually did the trade without even seeing or driving the ranger. I paid cash on the spot and got over book value for a ranger they never laid eyes on until they came back to pick it up. The salesman called me on his way back to the dealership with it and said there was a loud noise and horrible vibration. He asked if that had been happening and why I didn’t tell him. I said he could look up the service records and see that all the techs that looked at it said it was in perfect condition. He started yelling at me, then had his general manager call me and try to yell at me for misrepresenting the condition of the trade, but I told him to sue me if that’s what they want to accuse me of. But, their lawyers said they wouldn’t pursue a case because so many techs had reported the truck to have no faults. Last I heard was they had to order a new transmission, rear axle assembly completely replaced, front differential replaced, several parts of the suspension system replaced, new driveshaft and u-joints, and main rear seal. Would have been cheaper to scrap it.

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