Over-the-Air Software Update Brings Additional Camera Functionality to Our Ford F-150

After about a year and a half and more than 25,000 miles, we are approaching the end of our era. Before our fleet leaves, we’ll have a few more updates to share, including an upcoming report on how our test truck’s active air dam has been damaged–and real-world fuel economy comparison with. This time around, we’re documenting the details of the recent Ford Power-Up over-the-air software update the F-150 received via the included FordPass Connect modem.

We received a notification via the F-150’s infotainment screen that an OTA software update was available, so I clicked the on-screen install button when I parked overnight. When the truck started the next day, another notification window informed us that the functionality of the car’s camera systems had been improved.

A Quick Primer on the F-150 Limited Camera System: When the vehicle is parked or moving at parking lot speeds, the camera display can be switched between front view, panoramic wide-angle front view, capture bed view (from a camera built into the raised central parking lamp), and view Trailer hitch, conventional rear view, wide-angle panoramic rear view, 360° panoramic view. (The 360-degree view appears as a split screen that also includes a front or rear view screen depending on whether the truck is in drive or reverse.)

With the update (Priority Update 22-PU0707-SCH-POPB, to be exact), some camera system offerings are now available while the vehicle is in motion as well as stationary. Trailer reverse steering also includes a picture-in-picture capability that allows two camera views to be monitored simultaneously. Since we don’t currently have trailer access, we haven’t tested PIP capability, but a Ford update notice says, “This split view allows you to view trailer reverse steering cams and choose from either the elevated central station – headlight cam view or trailer auxiliary cam view (purchased and installed). separately) at the same time to ensure the best visibility while supporting your trailer in the tightest of places.”

Views for the bed, delivery trailer, and rear view can be selected when the car is in motion – as can the camera view of the add-on trailer, if you have one installed. The bed view can also only be displayed on the right side of the infotainment screen, so you can monitor the bed load while using the rest of the infotainment system functions at the same time.

Of the three, the bed cam display screen is the most useful. The wide-angle camera shows a good view of the bed itself, as well as the road and traffic behind the car. The camera’s effectiveness is greatly reduced in nighttime driving, but even then, passing under street lights on Chicago-area streets and highways was enough to temporarily (if dim) the image of the cargo bed on our display.

The camera screen on the bed includes digitally superimposed black and white stripes – one on the bed floor and one on the interior tailgate deck – highlighting the center line from front to back of the pickup. When the truck is parked, these lines will be useful for lining up the turnbuckle/5th wheel trailer hitch, but they can also be useful for determining if the load has changed while you’re on the road.

Display screens may cause a distraction while driving; We thought Ford might have to check some of the inside legal boxes before making these motion camera shows available. (For example, the camera system in GM’s full-size pickups allows the view of the bed to be shown for only eight seconds when the vehicle is moving at more than 8 mph.) The stop-point display as you drive down the road is a bit like watching the Trippy in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” but with the sidewalk dashing past rather than the special effects of psychedelic outer space.

The addition of improved camera functionality isn’t a hugely important fit like Ford’s BlueCruise handsfree driver assistance system recently added to our testers’ suite of capabilities, but it’s a welcome improvement nonetheless—which was very easy to add.

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