The 2009 Ford F-150 pickup has help for forgetful tradesmen who lose tools.
Each tool can be tagged with a small chip that has a small antenna. The radio-frequency identification system scans the cargo box and provides a list of missing tools on an in-dash computer monitor.
Fifty identification tags are included in the package. Additional tags are $1 each. The option has a sticker price of $1,120, on top of a $1,195 computer package that provides high-speed Internet access.
Radio-frequency identification also can be used by hunters and fishermen to track gear, and by pharmaceutical workers to track expensive samples.
The Internet access will help tradesmen with various tasks.
"Imagine an electrician needs a wiring diagram," says Bill Frykman, Ford's product business development manager. "He will go to a Web site and print it out at a wireless printer in his truck. If he needs to change an invoice, he can log on to his work computer (at his office), print out the new invoice with the job changes (in his pickup) and give it to the customer."
The computer, developed by Magneti Marelli, uses Microsoft Auto software. It will be available this year on the 2009 F-150, SuperDuty and Econoline models.