Ford's new no-service navigation will help adventurers stay on course [Updated]

It'll show off-road trails and potential obstacles for trailer towing

[This post has been updated to include details from Ford regarding the availability of these features in its other trucks and SUVs.]

The 2021 Ford Bronco and F-150 will be available with a navigation system that will not only function outside of cell coverage, but be optimized for those whose destinations are off the beaten path, Ford announced early Wednesday. 

Built-in navigation systems that work outside of typical cellular coverage are nothing new — even Google offers offline maps for smartphone-based navigation — but Ford is kicking things up a notch with a solution that not only functions when it is effectively "offline," but is optimized for towing and off-road excursions. These new features will be integrated into the trucks' existing Sync 4 infotainment suites. 

What does that look like, exactly? Well, imagine towing a long or wide load on a trailer, and needing to avoid narrow bridges or roads and trails with sharp switchbacks. Ford's solution will account for trailer dimensions when calculating routes. Headed off-road? Ford's database will include 4x4 trails, and the number will grow with updates, which Sync 4 can handle over-the-air. 

"Customers want connected vehicle technologies to work more like smartphones with real-time, personalized services – and that is exactly what we are offering with Ford SYNC 4 innovations such as Telenav’s navigation system," said Ford's Gary Jablonski, who manages Ford's connected vehicle programs. "F-150 and Bronco drivers now can get richer, quicker location search results, tow more confidently with custom routes and keep following off-road trail maps where other navigation systems go dark when cell coverage ends."

Ford confirmed to Autoblog that these features will be exclusive to the 2021 Ford F-150 and Bronco at launch. Expansion to other vehicles (such as the Bronco Sport crossover and Ranger pickup) is on the table, but Ford is not ready to announce any concrete plans.

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