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March 8, 2021 3:15 PM, EST

Ford Telematics Now Available for Non-Ford Commercial Vehicles

Alex Purdy Alex Purdy, director of business operations for Enterprise Connectivity at Ford. (Ford Motor Co.)

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Ford Motor Co. is making its telematics system available to all commercial vehicle manufacturers, the company announced.

“Ford Telematics is now compatible with non-Ford vehicles by a plug-in device,” Alex Purdy, director of business operations for Enterprise Connectivity at Ford, said during a March 8 presentation hosted as part of Work Truck Week, a virtual event hosted by NTEA, The Association for the Work Truck Industry. “Now you can gain clear, easy-to-access insights from Ford Telematics across your entire fleet, regardless of make.”

Purdy also announced a free version of the program that will be available on Ford commercial vehicles.

Ford Telematics diagram

(Ford Motor Co.)

The plug-in device version connects to a vehicle with a wiring harness that leaves the OBD II port available for use, Ford said.

Ford Telematics has undergone several updates since its 2020 launch, including a plug-in modem kit for older vehicles. The latest version includes updates for vehicle health information, including diagnostic trouble codes, recalls, engine hours and diesel signals that help prevent damage to emissions equipment, Purdy said. There also is a driver behavior dashboard with a scoring function, which he described as “an insightful and intuitive tool that enables fleet managers to provide targeted coaching to help improve driver behavior.”

The driver behavior dashboard provides information on issues such as harsh braking or acceleration, speeds driven over posted limits and/or fleet-set thresholds, seat belt use and idling time, Ford said. “Because there’s so much data at our fingertips, it’s critical to give fleet managers a clear and simple way to gain insight into their business,” Purdy said.

Severe incident notifications can alert fleet managers if, for example, an airbag has been triggered. E-mail and in-app alerts can relay the driver involved, the location of the crash and the time. Vehicle misuse notifications enable managers to set operating hours and receive notifications if their vehicles are being used during off-hours, Ford said.

The free version that will be available across the company’s commercial vehicle range beginning in the second quarter of this year, called Ford Telematics Essentials, will provide eligible commercial customers with a dashboard featuring odometer readings, warning lights, diagnostic trouble codes, recall notifications, engine hours, oil life remaining, diesel service and maintenance alerts.

Ford Telematics

(Ford Motor Co.)

Every commercial vehicle produced by the company since 2020 includes hardware that permits access to vehicle systems and architecture for telematics services, even including services such as remote locking of a single vehicle or a group of vehicles, remote scheduled preconditioning and predictive maintenance. Over-the-air update capability will be available beginning with model year 2022 F-series vehicles, the company said.

The updated system also has functionality for electric vehicles, the company noted. Fleets that deploy EVs will have access to an EV-specific dashboard that provides vehicle data, charging reports, and web-based pre-conditioning to help optimize battery efficiency.

In addition, Purdy noted that the telematics program’s app can support driver vehicle checks, which can identify physical issues like a broken mirror or worn tires, the type of data that he said “isn’t readily available through a telematics system.”

Purdy added, “When building solutions for small, medium and large commercial fleet customers, our focus is providing fleet managers with meaningful intelligence and actionable insights about their fleet.”

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