Vehicles increasingly use software operating systems to control nearly every aspect of day-to-day operations. And now Ford has partnered with Google to provide remote updates to owners’ vehicle software. The first rumors of a Ford-Google partnership revolved around a ridesharing company using autonomous vehicles as early as 2016. Although that venture is likely scheduled to debut sometime in the future, this newest partnership iteration is already being implemented.
And thanks to that partnership, Ford vehicle recalls could become easier for car owners to address. Due to the complex nature of tens of thousands of moving parts providing power, control, safety, and comfort in a vehicle, sometimes design or manufacturing defects require automakers to issue recalls. An automaker might issue a recall for problems that affect the reliability, safety, and/or performance of its vehicle. Recall issues can range from minor software updates to life-threatening safety defects.
What is the standard recall process?
Automakers issue recalls whenever a manufacturing problem occurs. Some voluntarily report problems to the National Highway Trafic Safety Administration. Other recalls are mandatory if the NHTSA deems them so. Recalls protect consumers and help keep affected automakers out of regulatory trouble and protect their reputation.
When a recall happens, the automaker notifies the affected vehicles’ owners. Sometimes consumers may purchase a used vehicle after a recall is issued. Anytime you buy a used vehicle, it’s good to check for any recalls on record. If you find that the vehicle is under recall, contact a local authorized dealer to inquire about repairs.
After the dealer verifies your vehicle is under recall and has the parts to perform the work, you need to take your vehicle to the repair shop. The fix could take only a few minutes, or it could take several days, depending upon the complexity.
What does the Ford-Google partnership mean for the future of recall repairs?
With Ford‘s recently released over-the-air software update system, dealerships can perform repairs remotely through a Wi-Fi or cellular connection. Providing over-the-air software updates means fewer owner trips to a dealership, less congestion at recall service providers, and fewer vehicles on the road operating without needed updates.
Of course, recalls for hardware and component failures will still require a trip to the service center. But as manufacturing processes become more refined and controlled, these types of issues will become less frequent.
Other benefits of the Ford-Google partnership
Team Upshift is a collaboration between Ford and Google to drive ongoing innovation, Ford reports. Through this partnership, the automaker’s entire lineup, including Lincoln vehicles, will include Android operation systems with Google apps and services as early as 2023. This will allow Ford to push needed software updates to its new vehicles. It’ll also allow owners to upgrade or modify features after they purchase their vehicle.
For example, if you didn’t want in-dash navigation included in your vehicle purchase but later changed your mind, you could request it be installed over Wi-Fi while you’re at home. Other enhancements are also in the works to improve automobile design, customer experience during the shopping and buying process, and data analytics to ensure your vehicle’s onboard systems continue to work properly.