Ford's New Solution
Ford has no problem sharing the sales figures for how many trucks they move off the lot in any given year. And as most would assume, at least half of them are used specifically for or directly supporting a business. Landscapers, contractors and a handful of others often use their trucks as a mobile tool shed/garage/office. Knowing that, Ford went ahead and designed a new system for these traveling tradesmen to make their business more productive and their lives generally easier.
In the summer of 2006, Ford talked directly with customers and businesses trying to find the next big thing to hit the world of full-size trucks. What they came up with required the help of designers from Master Lock, DeWalt and Sprint. Their system, named Work Solutions, combines Wireless Technology, new safety features and a fully functional in-dash computer to help business owners concentrate on getting the job done rather than what it takes to do so.
In the bed of the truck, Master Lock installed a specially developed system, dubbed Cable-Lock, that uses a retractable cable to make sure your tools don't grow legs and you know what. The spool is housed in a hardened plastic shroud to keep it from being damaged while utilizing the bed. The 8ft cable is also housed in a plastic covering to keep from damaging anything you wrap it around.
The heart of the system is a 6.5in touch-screen hooked up to a computer system running the latest version of Windows CE. It comes with 2G of flash memory, which is better suited for "off-road" environments, and is easily expandable via ports in the facing. It is also loaded with GPS by Garmin and broadband wireless connectivity provided by Sprint.
One of the most impressive systems running on the computer is called Tool Link. It uses radio frequencies and a sensor in the bed of the truck to tell you what tools are currently loaded. You can program every tool you own into the system and then create a tool list that varies by job. Doing so will help ensure you never have to run back the shop/garage because you forgot something, or more importantly you didn't leave it at the job site at the end of the day.
Another useful addition is the CrewChief application. Using the wireless capability, managers can keep track of their trucks' location and tool-list so they can make better decisions about who to send to what jobs. CrewChief also feeds your manager information about the mileage on the vehicle and other diagnostic information to determine if/when servicing is needed.
Work Solutions will be available in mid-2009 on the F-150 and Super-Duty pickups as well as the E-Series vans. No real word on pricing, but depending on what kind of work you will be using it for, a few times of being reminded about your tools and the system could more than pay for itself.
Credited To : AutoBlog