Ford and Google are announcing a significant partnership that should shake things up in the automotive space, providing benefits to the consumer and the industry as a whole.
Android Automotive OS
We’ll first see this partnership in action in 2023, as Ford and Lincoln’s vehicles get an upgraded infotainment system known as Android Automotive OS. Similar to how Android is a platform for tablets, smartphones, and TVs, Android Automotive OS goes beyond the Android Auto smartphone projection system that is available in many cars today. Now cars will feature tight integration with the Google Assistant and native app support like Google Maps and the Play Store.
“We are obsessed with creating must-have, distinctively Ford products and services,” said Jim Farley, President and CEO of Ford. “This integration will unleash our teams to innovate for Ford and Lincoln customers while seamlessly providing access to Google’s world-class apps and services.”
Currently, very few automakers offers Android Automotive OS – only Volvo and its electric sub-brand Polestar have shipped cars with this infotainment system. In the past, Ford worked with Microsoft to establish Sync and MyFord Touch, one of the first branded, mass-market in-car infotainment systems. While MyFord Touch saw a few hiccups in development, Sync has evolved into a reliable and easy-to-use interface, an advantage for the automaker when compared to other systems in the industry.
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The partnership goes beyond this though, as Google has way more than just Android. Ford has also named Google Cloud its preferred cloud provider to leverage Google’s expertise in data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. To car buyers, this integration will enable faster over-the-air updates, as well as innovative and streamlined retail and ownership experiences, making buying and owning a vehicle more seamless and hassle-free.
Google is an expert when it comes to data analysis, and being able to crunch the information from millions of new car sales per year around the world should help Ford achieve its dream of transforming into a mobility company. Data analysis and machine learning are expected to help modernize product development and manufacturing. Additionally, it will help fast-track data-driven business models that could lead to customers receiving real-time notices about maintenance and trade-in alerts.
“As Ford continues the most profound transformation in our history with electrification, connectivity, and self-driving, Google and Ford coming together establish an innovation powerhouse truly able to deliver a superior experience for our customers and modernize our business,” said Farley.
On the other side of the equation, Google gets quite a bit in the partnership as well. The two companies are creating a new group called “Team Upshift” that will allow the partners to share talent, assets, and knowledge. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has a self-driving subsidiary known as Waymo, and working with Ford will help them improve and eventually bring the futuristic technology to the mainstream, all while providing innovations in the automotive space.
This deep collaboration kicks off in 2023, starting with Android infotainment systems inside Ford vehicles. The information and asset sharing between the two companies will lead to further innovation and yield benefits for consumers and move the needle for the automotive industry as a whole.