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Ford employees can stop the production line with a new wearable

The automaker claims its Portable Quality Assurance Device saves its employees 1 kilometer of walking per day, a huge boon for efficiency.

Ford has developed a wearable device, which connected to a smartphone app, enables production line workers to make faster and more accurate quality checks on new vehicles.

Wearable technology is slowly making its way into the consumer side of the automotive industry -- Apple Watch apps that control your car, (video) for example. But this new tech is also making its way to the workers that put the vehicles together, and Ford appears to be capitalizing on that.

Ford's Portable Quality Assurance Device is basically a smartphone attached to a worker's wrist. Using a special app, workers can spot-check vehicles on the production line and even stop the line if needed.

The first facility to use this device -- in Valencia, Spain -- used to require workers to walk more than 1 kilometer, or about two-thirds of a mile, each day between the line and PCs that contained the information now available via this device. Now, that walking doesn't need to happen.

Ford hails the pilot program in Valencia as a success, and it plans to roll this out to other facilities in time. By increasing efficiency and cutting down the reliance on older tech, this has a chance to cut down on recalls by making it easier to identify issues as they come up.