Look out Tesla: Ford makes its first foray into over-the-air updates
Ford is releasing a new software update making Android Auto and Apple CarPlay available to 2016 model-year vehicles using the Sync 3 infotainment system. The company is offering its customers several avenues to install the update in their Fords.
Owners can download the software at home and use a USB drive to update Sync 3. They can also use a Wi-Fi connection and install the upgrade directly to their car.
Customers must upgrade their USB hubs in order to receive Apple CarPlay support. Android Auto support is available with the existing hardware. Both infotainment services allow users to access smartphone features such as navigation, music, phone, and messaging through Sync 3.
“Our Sync 3 software platform was designed to be easy to update so we can get our customers the latest and greatest features, functionally and security enhancements,” said Don Butler, executive director of Ford Connected Vehicle and Services, in a statement. “With over-the-air updates, we can deliver new features to customers in the background while they continue using their vehicles.”
It’s the company’s first software update made available over Wi-Fi, and Ford hired a team of mobile software engineers to tackle these types of large-scale projects. This will help it compete with Tesla, which has been offering over-the-air software updates since the fall of 2015.
Wi-Fi enabled vehicles can perform Sync 3 updates automatically, much like a smartphone. The system will check for updates when it is connected to a wireless network, and download and install the new software. Sync 3 will complete an update even if the vehicle is turned off.
All 2017 model-year Fords are equipped with Sync 3 that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.