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Ford Telematics expands into all makes, all models regardless of automaker

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Jason Morgan is the editor of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 15 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

During the Work Truck Show 2021, held virtually, Ford announced that Ford Telematics will support all makes and models–regardless of automaker. With this expanded functionality, fleet managers will be able to analyze all of their fleet vehicles in one easy-to-use dashboard, including the ability to improve uptime, monitor performance and plan maintenance services, according to the OEM.

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Customers can leverage this capability on most non-Ford vehicles by using a plug-in device that connects to each vehicle with a wiring harness that leaves the OBD II port available for use. Additionally, this expanded functionality is provided as part of the regular subscription cost for Ford Telematics.

The ability to support all makes and models is the latest step Ford has taken to expand the breadth of Ford Telematics. Fleet customers who deploy electric vehicles also have access to an electric vehicle telematics dashboard, which provides features such as electric-vehicle data, charging reports, and web-based pre-conditioning that can help optimize battery efficiency.

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“At Ford, our commitment to fleet customers goes beyond the mix of their fleet,” said Alex Purdy, Director of Business Operations, Enterprise Connectivity, Ford Motor Company . “By supporting all makes and models, expanding the capabilities of Ford Telematics and providing complimentary management tools, we’re arming fleet managers with the knowledge they need to maintain uptime and increase productivity across their fleet.”

Managing behavior and compliance

Ford Telematics is designed to help customers improve the management and performance of their fleets. The service is constantly introducing new features to do just that, including a fleet-wide driver behavior dashboard and individual driver scores that help improve performance, Ford noted.

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The driver behavior dashboard gives managers a survey of how their vehicles are performing, providing information about trends that involve harsh braking or acceleration, speeds driven over posted limits and/or fleet-set thresholds, seatbelt use and idling time. A personal driver score also lets fleet managers quickly see how specific drivers are doing, giving them opportunities to further coach them on best practices and areas of improvement.

Severe incident notifications, meanwhile, let fleet operators know when their drivers and vehicles have been involved in a severe incident where the 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 inappropriately during off-hours.

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Improving uptime

The launch of Ford Telematics Essentials for Ford vehicles brings a complimentary level of service for commercial customers that will be available beginning in the second quarter of 2021.

Ford Telematics Essentials gives customers access to vehicle health insights such as odometer readings, diagnostic trouble code and information around oil life, engine hours and recalls. Later this year, this complimentary service will also allow fleets to digitally track and plan maintenance or repair services with local dealers.

Meanwhile, Ford Telematics continues to expand its feature offerings and the amount of data it can share with fleets about their vehicles, with support for more than 3,800 diagnostic trouble codes. These codes help identify potential issues with vehicles, and are coupled with alerts that tell customers whether they should take action immediately or soon in order to remedy a situation.

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Over-the-air updates to be enabled

Beginning with the 2022 F-150, Ford will offer over-the-air update capabilties. Vehicles equipped with this technology can receive updates and repairs wirelessly, reducing the need to visit a dealer for maintenance. These updates can be delivered in the background or scheduled by the driver at their convenience.

See Ford Telematics in action

Last Fall, I had the opportunity to put Ford Telematics through its paces during a test drive of the Ford Transit. Click the link below to see what data I generated on my drive and walk through all of the trackable details with Travis Hunt, business development manager at Ford Commercial Solutions.

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