Ford Motor Co. announced Friday a new technology that will help it remotely upgrade future vehicles.
The company said all its vehicles in the future will have the new technology. It will provide Ford with a similar ability to Tesla, Inc. to wirelessly provide updates and upgrades.
Ford said the technology would allow it to collect data on its customers vehicles. It may become a new revenue stream.
"We believe that data is the new oil. It enables us to have an always-on relationship with our customer," Ford's director of business operations and head of its enterprise connectivity unit Alex Purdy said in a statement.
The technology functions similarly to Tesla's over-the-air updates. Tesla was the first to utilize OTA updates, allowing it to remotely provide upgrades that change a vehicle's performance and characteristics.
Ford is calling its version the "Power-Up." The company said the feature would allow it to remotely enhance and upgrade its vehicles well into their lifecycles - providing more value to its customers.
Motor-vehicle manufacturers have been using remote updates for a while but these are mostly limited to their vehicles' entertainment, information and navigation systems. Ford plans to provide more significant software upgrades.
Ford said its updates should result in savings in recall and warranty costs. The company said it could also potentially earn more from data fleet monetization and from selling new features.
"It's a total reversal of the ownership model, where vehicles just used to get older. Now, Fords will get better over time," Purdy said.
Ford said it is already utilizing "Power Up" in some of its F-150 pickups and Mustang Mach-E vehicles. An update sent to its F-150 pickups helped resolve some battery draining issues which Ford said saved it more than $20 million in warranty costs.
Ford said upgrades will eventually be available across all of its products. The company said the next vehicle to get the feature will be its upcoming Ford Bronco SUV.