May 25, 2022

With newly developed bi-directional charging capabilities, the Ford F-150 Lightning can now instantly serve as a backup power source for your home. The automaker hopes to do the same for your office soon with a new partnership with Cisco, maker of Webex conferencing software.

“We’re going all-in and building a variety of complementary business lines that give us a head start and unbridled innovation,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said Tuesday. So far, in recent months, the company has announced plans to separate its electric vehicle and internal combustion engine divisions, producing over 600,000 electric vehicles a year by 2023 and introducing seven new electric vehicle models to the European market over the next few years.

And what better way for Ford to completely win over the hearts and minds of American drivers than equipping its electric vehicles with the hottest internet entertainment since online conferences since March 2020? “We’re exploring ways to connect people,” said Darren Palmer, vice president of Ford Electric Vehicle Programs. “We don’t understand why people don’t use their cars to get to work as a great quality office.”

That’s why Ford and Cisco are working together to “unlock browser capabilities on SYNC4A” for the automaker’s infotainment system, and are currently developing a WebEx app that will natively run on an HTML 5-centric operating system. Cisco is partnering with Webex for the next generation of our electric vehicles,” Palmer said. “We view Webex as a secure and comprehensive collaboration tool.”

Your cat can jump in front of the webcam so cute when you are on the phone from home. Your kids will melt loudly in the back seat about who’s touching who’s definitely less cute. To avoid high-decibel interruptions, future Ford EVs will feature Webex Optimize for My Voice, which will automatically mute anyone in the cab who is not in the meeting. To further reduce driver distraction, “we will ensure that any collaborative apps like Webex only deploy when the vehicle is stationary or audio only while driving,” Palmer said. The companies did not disclose a timeline for the final release of the app.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Engadget.

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