Ford, Qualcomm Bring Wireless To Automobiles



Ford Motor Co. and Qualcomm Inc. today launched Wingcast, a company that will offer car and truck drivers access to data and information services via wireless technology.

The company, which will be run independently of Ford and Qualcomm, will offer drivers telematics services, including one-touch and voice-activated access to entertainment, the Internet, navigation and safety services, and voice applications and services. Users will also be able to access these services via handheld devices and mobile PCs.

Ford expects to start offering the services in all of its vehicles by the end of next year. And Nissan is working with Ford and Qualcomm to provide these services in its Infinity line of luxury vehicles.

Other automobile manufacturers are expected to follow suit. Wingcast will provide manufacturers with a basic framework for underlying network hardware, architecture, and services that can be altered, based on vehicle class or manufacturer's specifications. Wingcast's technology is based on a combination of Ford's telematics and Qualcomm's Code Division Multiple Access, a digital cellular technology.

"Wingcast will work with leading hardware and service providers to put communications services in vehicles, allowing people who drive cars to access information from any mobile or handheld device they choose, regardless of the circumstances," says Harel Kodesh, who was named president and CEO of Wingcast.

Wingcast services will be available in the United States first, but will eventually be offered throughout Europe and Asia. Pricing for the services will vary, based on the types of services selected by the car manufacturer and the user.

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