Ford partners with AT&T to support 5G electric vehicle production

Ford and AT&T have announced a partnership that will see the telecommunications giant provide 5G cellular connectivity and networking at Ford’s Dearborn Rouge site, where the automaker builds a line of electric vehicles.

AT&T said in a statement that its 5G systems and Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) technology will be used to help build the new all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning pickups, which are due out next year.

Adrian Price, executive director of global manufacturing engineering at Ford Motor Company, said the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center was built with a clean design and features “the latest advanced manufacturing technologies.”

“We are deploying 5G technology at this facility as a platform to enable us to use other important advanced manufacturing technologies in the future,” said Price.

Rasesh Patel, director of products and platform at AT&T Business, added that the company was excited to “help Ford unlock the potential of 5G to help build the truck of the future.”

“It’s 5G connectivity that comes to life! And it’s all thanks to the transformative lightning-fast speeds, insanely low latency and massive connectivity that is 5G in action,” Patel said.

The companies explained that 5G will support a list of activities taking place in the factory. Dozens of production line workers use tablets and computers to send information and check equipment or materials.

Smartphones are used by workers to scan parts of trucks to verify accuracy and all devices will run faster with 5G. Ford also plans to update all devices to enable more functions through the new 5G system.

The factory is also equipped with hundreds of robots and machines connected to the internet, and Ford said worker safety would be improved by the lower latency offered by 5G. The 5G system “can help robotics and automated machines make better decisions and faster reaction times,” according to Ford.

Ford added that vehicle software updates can now be performed wirelessly using AT & T’s 5G.

Ford has invested heavily in the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, announcing an additional $ 250 million that will flow to the plant to support 450 additional jobs.

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