Ford Motor Company is delivering fully integrated mobile office functionality into F-Series trucks on the job site - an industry first.
An in-dash computer, developed with Magneti Marelli, transforms the new 2009 F-150 or F-Series Super Duty into true mobile offices, capable of linking into the business owner's main office computer network or a home computer via a cellular broadband connection.
Users can access existing files on an office computer miles from the job site, open a word processing document, a spread sheet or their business accounting program, make updates and print them in the truck on an available Ford-certified, on-board, Bluetooth-enabled, battery-powered inkjet printer.
Powered by Microsoft Auto, the system provides high-speed Internet access via the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network. It works with Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, offering hands-free calling with push-to-talk voice recognition, access to user phonebooks and the ability to receive text messages.
The in-dash computer also includes navigation by Garmin, which comes standard with features like re-routing due to construction or traffic congestion and points of interest including local gas stations and their fuel prices, restaurants, Ford dealerships and Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers.
The computer is integrated into the vehicle's center stack, filling the same space normally occupied by the standard radio. It is equipped with a 6.5-inch, high-resolution touch screen, two gigabytes of memory, a secure digital slot for additional memory, a USB port and includes a wireless keyboard and mouse. A stylus, stored next to the CD slot, is included for use on the touch screen.
The computer is ‘Built Ford Tough’ — designed and tested to the same stringent standards as the other parts on the truck.
Ford F-Series trucks offer customers the most flexible, most accessible pickup boxes in the industry, thanks to class-leading hauling capability, industry-exclusive features like tailgate and box side steps — as well as a unique technology like Ford Work Solutions Tool Link.
Developed with Dewalt and ThingMagic, Tool Link offers owners the capability to mark and scan high-value tools, safety equipment, material inventories and other important assets using RFID tags. When the vehicle is running, a pair of RFID antennas, mounted in corrosion- and impact-resistant housings on the inside of the pickup box, scan the box for the items on a pre-programmed inventory list.
The data is transmitted to a reader mounted inside the cab and displayed on the in-dash computer screen, alerting the driver if any inventoried tools are not loaded on the truck.
“Tool Link increases productivity and saves money,” said William Frykman, Ford Work Solutions product and business development manager. “It helps users guarantee they show up at the job site with the right tools for each job — and that they don't leave equipment behind.”
Tool Link comes pre-loaded with several standard tool lists that are easily edited to reflect specific types of jobs. The system uses industry standard second-generation RFID tags that can be fastened to tools or other items and can read and catalogue hundreds of tools or assets in just seconds.
Fleet owners and managers often need to dispatch vehicles quickly for service calls. Ford Work Solutions Crew Chief provides them a telematics and diagnostics system that delivers real-time vehicle location and maintenance tracking, allowing them to quickly respond to calls and optimally deploy their fleets.
The data is linked to a Web-based application, which can be used by a fleet administrator in an office or anywhere there is Internet access — including a Ford Work Solutions in-dash computer.
As an added benefit, Crew Chief interfaces with the vehicle's electrical architecture and can monitor numerous diagnostic functions, including tire pressure or check engine light codes.
It also can be programmed to identify user-set alerts, such as unauthorized use of a vehicle or excessive idling.
The system will also provide fuel calculations and fuel tax reporting, helping fleet managers and business owners manage costs more effectively.
“Secure, lockable storage is important for all customers,” said Frykman. “That's why we worked with Master Lock to deliver the Cable Lock, a convenient way to secure items such as toolboxes, air compressors, generators or large power tools that may need to be in the pickup box when the vehicle is parked.”
The strong, eight-foot, 10 millimeter steel cable is wrapped in a protective plastic sheathing and is easily woven around toolbox handles or through and around items and then locked to the truck with a cuff-style clasp.
The clasp can be attached to any of the items in the box, any of the tie-down cleats, or simply clamped back onto the cable itself. The self-retractable cable is stored in a corrosion- and impact-resistant housing mounted to the inside wall at the rear of the pickup box. The unit is spring-loaded and uses a friction mechanism that will gently retract the cable when not in use. Cable Lock is easily installed on virtually any Ford pickup truck.
For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.