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Ford to turn its cars into on-the-road offices

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Ford EV // Illustration by Kate Walker

Ford to turn its cars into on-the-road offices

 

Future. Ford wants to give drivers something to do as the electric and autonomous age nears. In partnership with Cisco, Ford is turning the office commute into… just the office — by outfitting its cars with video-conferencing tech. The feature may also be a boon to work-from-anywhere advocates who can now get WiFi wherever the road takes them.

Work-from-road
Ford is preparing for a future where drivers don’t have to watch the road.

  • The automaker plans to turn its future fleet of EV vehicles into, essentially, mobile video-conference offices.
  • It’s doing so through a partnership with Cisco, which makes the Webex conference software.
  • To start, the companies will work together to “unlock the browser experience” on Ford’s infotainment system, SYNC4A.
  • Future video conferences will include Webex’s “Optimize For My Voice” feature, which drowns out voices that aren’t a part of the meeting (like bickering children).

Darren Palmer, Vice President, Ford Electric Vehicle Programs, said that there’s no reason why a Ford couldn’t become a “fantastic quality office.”

The announcement comes on the heels of the automaker splitting its EV business off of its larger corporation in order to operate at “startup speed.”

Drive the living room

Ford isn’t the first car company to think of transforming drive time into entertainment or office hours. Sony recently stated that it wanted to turn cars into “entertainment spaces,” which means bringing the power of PlayStation to your commute.

But (of course) Tesla actually beat everyone to the punch with its video game feature Passenger Play. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration quickly shut that down, ruling that drivers cannot play games while cars are moving. Be prepared for that rule to lift as soon as autonomous driving is perfected.

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