Ford follows Tesla into in-car gaming with new software update, also adds Amazon Alexa

Ford is bringing a software update to its vehicles, starting with the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover and F150 pickup.

The automaker is using its new over-the-air software capacity to follow Tesla into in-car gaming and add Amazon Alexa integration.

Tesla pioneered the concept of bringing over-the-air software updates inside vehicles.

It gave the automaker an edge by being able to push new features to vehicles over time and make them better after the purchase.

Now, several automakers are following them with their own over-the-air software updates, including Ford.

The Michigan-based automaker has previously announced its plan to bring the technology, which it calls Ford Power-Up, to the Mustang Mach-E and F150 first.

For example, it recently announced that it is going to push its new BlueCruise driver-assist system through the technology.

Now, Ford is announcing new features coming through Power-Up, including a new sketch app and “simple gaming” — both things that Tesla previously included in its vehicles:

“Ford Power-Up enhancements already have been sent to more than 100,000 2021 F-150 and Mustang Mach-E customers since late March; new Sketch for touchscreen drawing and simple gaming coming to Mustang Mach-E soon.”

The automaker didn’t specify what kind of games it is bringing to the vehicles, but Tesla has been diving deep into gaming inside its vehicles lately with frequently launching new games.

Here’s what the sketch app looking like on the Mach-E’s screen:

The automaker also announced that it will integrate Amazon’s Alexa voice AI technology:

“Ford Power-Up enhancements include what’s planned to be the industry’s broadest roll-out yet of the new, more seamless Amazon Alexa Built-in hands-free experience, offering complimentary access to key features for up to three years; companies plan to work together to deliver enhanced features and new commercial services over the next six years.”

Ford explains what drivers can do with Alexa inside the vehicles:

“Inside their vehicle, Ford customers can ask Alexa to control smart home devices, place calls, locate parking and more. Alexa capabilities delivered through SYNC 4 Technology provide the convenience of hands-free, voice-initiated interactions – minimizing the need for drivers to view or touch screens and helping them keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Customers can interact with their vehicles naturally and say things like, “Alexa, find the closest gas station” or “Alexa, play my road trip playlist” or “Alexa, call Mom.””

Here are a few more features that Ford plans to push in the coming weeks:

  • Remote Vehicle Setup and Trip Logs let new Mustang Mach-E customers use the FordPass app to set up profile preferences, including radio presets, in the cloud to be sent to vehicles, while trip logs track battery usage and other driving details on each trip.
  • F-150 SYNC 4 and Mustang Mach-E SYNC 4A upgrades, including:
  • Navigation enhancements automatically make helpful destination suggestions, plus new cloud connectivity combines conversational voice command recognition with internet-based search.
  • Apple CarPlayÒ compatibility enhancement to display turn-by-turn navigation in the vehicle’s instrument cluster6.
  • Digital owner’s manual enhancements to continue making the innovative, paperless product guides even more valuable.

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