Beginning next year, Ford's redesigned vehicle models will allow software updates over the internet or through cellular phone connections.
The company says every model will be equipped with the technology as they are redesigned. The shift will reduce visits to dealers for service and even some computer-related recall repairs.
Once completed, Ford will join electric car maker Tesla Inc. in having over-the-air software updates across its model lineup.
Owners will be able to opt in to the program and get updates over their home wireless network at no cost. The cost for cellular updates has not been announced.
Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday that it will be able to update nearly all vehicle computer systems once the system is active.
The company wouldn't say which vehicle will get the feature first, but it intends to roll out an all-electric Mustang-inspired SUV next year.
Even vehicles with conventional gasoline engines will get the update feature.
"We can now help improve your vehicle's capability, quality and overall driving experience while you're sleeping," said Don Butler, Ford's executive director of connected vehicles and services.
The company says it will deliver its first updates about six months after launching the first vehicles with the feature next year. Some of the updates would be invisible to owners because Ford's system will run the existing software until the new version is verified and ready to run, the company said.
Ford also announced that redesigned vehicles will get a faster and more capable version of its Sync infotainment system.