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Ford’s New Plug-In Device Connects Your Old Car to the Web

January 27, 2017

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A self-driving Ford Fusion hybrid car is test driven, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, in Pittsburgh.Photograph by Jared Wickerham — AP

Ford Motor said on Friday it would sell a plug-in device to enable features like remote start, security alerts, a Wifi hotspot and vehicle location assistance on 2010-2016 model year Ford and Lincoln cars.

The device would compete with similar products sold by other companies, including devices from AT&T and Verizon that add a Wifi hotspot to older model cars.

The SmartLink technology in the Ford device allows models that do not come pre-equipped with a modem to be more connected, enabling doors to be locked and unlocked remotely and supplying engine management alerts, the company said in a statement.

The after-market device, which plugs into the car’s OBD II port below the steering wheel, would be sold at dealerships beginning this summer. Ford (F) did not disclose a price.

All U.S. cars built after 1996 model year are mandated by law to have an OBD II port, which has historically been used for onboard diagnostics.

Carmakers worry third-party devices can interfere with their own embedded systems, introduce security bugs, and exploit data they say is their own, such as the car’s health or miles driven.