Following through with its plan to add new features via over-the-air (OTA) software updates, Ford on Thursday announced an update for the Mustang Mach-E that will bring enhanced Amazon Alexa connectivity, BlueCruise driver-assist tech, and other features to the electric SUV.
The first Ford Power-Up software updates (there's always a brand name with Ford) for the Mach-E and F-150 pickup truck began in March, the automaker said in a press release. Both vehicles have the newer Sync 4 infotainment system, which was designed for OTA updates. Most updates don't require a reboot of the system, but those that do can be scheduled for a convenient time, according to Ford.
One update planned for the Mach-E is a Sketch function, which enables drawing and note-taking on the giant 15.5-inch touchscreen. Other planned updates scheduled to be pushed in the coming weeks include remote vehicle setup and trip-log functions, and updates to navigation, Apple CarPlay, and the digital owner's manual, Ford said.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
Beginning this fall, the Mach-E and certain other Ford vehicles will get Amazon Alexa compatibility via OTA update. Ford and Amazon have a six-year partnership that will also include Alexa features for commercial vehicles.
Later in the year, Ford also plans to add the BlueCruise driver-assist system promised when the Mach-E launched late last year. BlueCruise can control steering, acceleration, and braking on designated stretches of highway, and uses driver monitoring to guard against misuse.
Ford has an in-house cybersecurity team that monitors OTA updates, both for compliance with privacy laws and for potential security risks. This slows down the process somewhat, but is necessary to build customer trust, Ford global director of electrification Mark Kaufman told Green Car Reports last year.