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.
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.”
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.
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.