The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Ford to Equip Its Cars and Trucks with Bluetooth Technology

December 18, 2001

Ford is working to equip its cars and trucks with Bluetooth technology to let passengers make phone calls, play video games and browse the Internet without using their hands, a company engineer said, according to a report by Wired News. Speaking at the Bluetooth Developers Conference in San Francisco, Ken Khangura, chief electri-cal engineer for Ford Motor Co., said it would take the next car manufacturing cycle, “three to five years,” before Ford implements Bluetooth in its cars and trucks. Bluetooth is a tiny radio that lets devices within 30 feet of each other communicate wirelessly. The radio is currently embedded in some high-end cell phones, laptop computers, and access points. Next year, a wireless company, MobileAria, will become the first to sell a Bluetooth car kit that enables drivers to make phone calls, check their schedules, and listen to online news. However, MobileAria, like most companies in the industry, said Bluetooth will become an essential component of future cars, if car manufacturers overcome some technical difficulties. Khangura said that Bluetooth backers must ensure their products are compatible with one another and don’t interfere with other radio frequencies. Bluetooth can interfere, for example, with other technology based on the wireless Ethernet standard 802.11b or Wi-Fi, if two applications run simultaneously. A spokesman for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said the FCC was considering giving Bluetooth products less spectrum to operate so that it doesn’t interfere with Wi-Fi products that operate in the same 2.4 gigahertz band of airwaves. While it’s possible for passengers in a car to play video games, send a fax, and monitor their car’s tires, he says such applications won’t drive Bluetooth sales among drivers. But the ability to make “hands-free” phone calls will attract drivers.
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