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Ford Intros First Factory Car Computer

2/06/2008 02:11:00 PM Eastern

Chicago — Ford introduced today the first OEM car computer with broadband Internet and one of the first OEM car tracking systems in its F-series trucks and commercial E-series vans.

The computer and car-tracking system are part of a new Ford Work Solutions package to be available on 2009 F-150 Super Duty and E-series vans starting this fall. They are aimed at business users such as contractors who need access to office files or who require fleet-management tracking.

Ford’s in-dash computer is powered by Microsoft Auto and occupies the double-DIN slot for the radio. It includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen that the user can operate with a stylus. It has 2GB of memory, an SD slot for additional memory, a USB port and it includes a wireless keyboard and mouse. The computer also uses high speed Internet from Sprint and is Bluetooth ready for hands-free calling. It also has the ability to receive text messages via Bluetooth.

Ford said the computer will allow remote access to one’s office files. It will also include turn-by-turn navigation from Garmin, which will also supply real-time traffic and fuel-price listings. It will come with an inkjet printer that is Bluetooth ready and battery-powered.

The Work Solutions package also features “Crew Chief” vehicle tracking and diagnostics to track the location of fleet vehicles in real time. The data is linked to a Web-based application, which can be used by a fleet administrator. The system also interfaces with the vehicle’s network to monitor diagnostics, such a tire pressure and check engine-light codes, to help with fleet maintenance. It can also provide fuel calculations and fuel-tax reporting.

The Ford Work Solutions package will be available this fall on the new 2009 Ford F-150 XL, STX, XLT and FX4 trucks; F-series Super Duty XL, XLT and FX4 trucks; and all 2009 E-series vans. Transit Connect vans will be added in mid-2009. Eventually, some of the features will be available for dealer installation to upgrade existing Ford trucks.

"Our customers told us that they want to have more access to their office when they're on the job site … and they want to have better insight in to where their crews are located. Ford Work Solutions brings together solutions to all those challenges the contractor has today,” said Bill Frykman, product and business development manager for Ford Work Solutions.

F-series has been the best-selling U.S. truck for 31 years. Two out of every five commercial trucks sold in the United States are a Ford, said the company.