November 1, 2005 7:41 AM PST

Ford squeezes an office into a truck

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Ford Motor unveiled a mobile office designed for the new F-Series truck that includes a touch-screen computer, printer, wireless broadband access and Global Positioning System.

Water cooler not included.

Ford, which introduced its mobile office Tuesday at this week's Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas, is targeting general contractors with its latest accessories. The mobile system is designed to let contractors bid on jobs, order parts and materials, and process payments from their trucks.

"F-Series is all about getting the job done, and this new mobile office technology will fit our truck owners' needs to be on the go as their business demands," Marty Collins, Ford general marketing manager, said in a statement.

The mobile office system is expected to become a dealer-installed accessory in 2006.

Ford teamed up with Stargate Mobile, Microsoft and California Custom Sport Trucks to provide the lightweight, touch-screen slate computer, which is mounted on the transmission tunnel inside the truck. The computer rests inside a cradle and is powered by the vehicle's battery. The computer also features a touch-screen that is viewable in bright sunlight and runs on Microsoft's Windows XP Professional.

The office system uses a broadband wireless cellular card to keep the computer online continuously and has the ability to connect with a digital camera to transfer images to customers.

Ford's mobile office is the latest move by car manufactures to extend technology into vehicles. Other efforts include integrating Apple Computer's iPod digital audio player into car stereos and voice-activated technology for use inside vehicles.

9 comments

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Just Great
Technology is good and all, but all of thsi in a truck will just lead to more driver distraction. Do we not have enough people on the road who can not use a mobile phone and drive at the same time?
Posted by Wildcat0695 (22 comments )
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For Contractors
This would be amazing for contractors, which I believe is what
they designed it for. Contractors live on the job and could use
this without having to call someone else or go back to the office.
On the job it would be in use, not on the road.
Posted by acefrenzy (2 comments )
Link Flag
Good, but...
This might be a good thing for a General Contractor (versus a subcontractor). I know a few who might jump on this... but not since it is centered on the Windows OS. Every general contractor I know dislikes being tied to that OS.
Posted by shadowself (202 comments )
Link Flag
This could lead to problems.
This could lead to problems when drivers might try to use this "office" while driving. I suggest they make it not work while the truck is in Drive.

And whats up with Windows OS? People have enough problems already, now you have to virus scan your truck, and make sure all the patches are up to date. I dont suppose the internet connection is very fast, so downloading windows updates every week can take up an annoying amount of bandwidth.
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Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
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There are enough people killed on the roads
Why does Ford want to create a vehicle with even more distractions? How many more killed will it have to take, before laws need to be introduced to actually get people to pay attention?
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
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I Agree
It's bad enough people cna't drive using a hands free cell phone earpiece, now we wan't to give them a computer to play with too? I see disaster written all over this one. About a year aago a truck driver lost control of his truck while on the cell phone and crashed into a gas station. Not too far from my house either; just imagine how much more people we could kill by adding this to vehicles.
Posted by smcgui5 (21 comments )
Link Flag
New mobile virus?
So...As other comments already pointed out, this is the new Mobile (Microsoft) Virus platform?
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pathetic and short sighted
We introduced a safer concept where a driver will not be allowed to interact with technology unless both hands are on the wheels, and we blank out the screen while the car is in motion and use only voice feed back. But like all the Auto companies we met and showed our product to proved to us that, Safety is not a goal, but avoiding liability is. Take the video screens for rear passengers, they all block rear view mirrors, at least partially, yet they keep adding them on because it is permissable to block the inside rear view mirror if you have external ones.

If you are interested in a full solution that balance driving and communication, visit our website on www.actplace.net. We have patented solution and we are looking for sponsors to finiance a product launch.
Posted by manaboulsi (37 comments )
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Ford is the first!
It's about time one of the car manufacturers realized that most people who need offices on wheels already have everything crammed into the front seat anyway. I have, in the past, had a small file box, a laptop, clipboard and pen with tablet, a map, a small calculator and colored markers in the cab of my truck. I didn't use them all while driving. Nor would I use this mobile office while driving. But I will be one of the first customers, and the rest of the car makers won't be far behind.

All the naysayers NEVER use a cell phone while driving, hmmm? Policemen never use computers in their patrol cars, huh? Way to go, Ford!
Posted by sirwriter (5 comments )
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