WiFi becoming tool to customize vehicles

Ford Motor Co. is using WiFi to customize automobiles by wirelessly adding software on the assembly line.

The auto company is transmitting software wirelessly to automobiles to load customized phone and entertainment features for various markets, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. For instance, an Edge crossover vehicle sold in the U.S. receives Ford's 911 emergency assistance package, while the same model for Canada receives the option to speak in French and provides traffic information about Canadian maps. Ford's coming Explorer sport-utility vehicle and Focus compact car will have similar technology when they are introduced later this year.

WiFi is also being looked at to program vehicles for more individualized options, including power-seat preferences and transmission shift speeds, to save auto makers money.

"Auto makers always wanted customization but they didn't want to pay for it," said Ronald Harbour with management consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

The implication of such customization could mean that buyers would be able to preorder their cars rather than buy from a prefabricated one from the car lot and pick and choose their software applications package.

For more:
- check out this Wall Street Journal article

Related articles:
Mobile apps to boost in-car Internet uptake
Nokia joins with German car makers to set app standard
Audi tests Wi-Fi and 3G to reduce car fuel consumption
Nokia boosted as car giants select MeeGo
Nokia teams with Alpine to bring Ovi apps to in-car systems

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