Google’s Android operating system, which already puts the ‘smart’ into more than 70% of smartphones around the globe, will soon be doing the same thing for millions of vehicles produced by one of the world’s biggest and oldest automakers.
As part of a new, six-year partnership beginning in 2023, Ford and Lincoln vehicles at all price points will be powered by Android, with Google apps and services built in. But the collaboration will begin well before then, with some of the benefits likely to be felt within months.
In what the two companies describe as a plan to “drive ongoing innovation”, Ford, founded in 1903, and Google in 1998, are establishing a collaborative group, Team Upshift. In a joint statement, the multi-nationals said this may could ranging from developing new retail experiences when buying a vehicle to creating new ownership offers based on data, and more.
“As Ford continues the most profound transformation in our history with electrification, connectivity and self-driving, Google and Ford coming together establishes an innovation powerhouse truly able to deliver a superior experience for our customers and modernize our business,” said Jim Farley, President and CEO of Ford.
“From the first moving assembly line to the latest driver-assist technology, Ford has set the pace of innovation for the automotive industry for nearly 120 years,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet. “We’re proud to partner to apply the best of Google’s AI, data analytics, compute and cloud platforms to help transform Ford’s business and build automotive technologies that keep people safe and connected on the road.”
As its preferred cloud provider and starting later this year, Google will help Ford leverage Google Cloud’s AI, ML and data analytics technologies to accelerate the automaker’s digital transformation, modernize operations, and power connected vehicle technologies with Google’s trusted, secure, and reliable cloud.
With Google Cloud, Ford plans to:
- Further improve customer experiences for customers with differentiated technology and personalised services;
- Accelerate modernisation of product development, manufacturing and supply chain management, including exploration of using vision AI for manufacturing employee training and even more reliable plant equipment performance;
- Fast track the implementation of data-driven business models resulting in customers receiving real-time notices such as maintenance requests or trade-in alerts.
Then, beginning in 2023, Google Assistant will start to come standard with new Ford and Lincoln vehicles, allowing drivers to “keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, by getting things done with just their voice,” the statement said.
Google Maps and Play will also be included, bringing navigation and real-time traffic information, as well as a wide range of apps, including music, podcasts, audiobooks and more to these vehicles.
Android in the car will also enable Ford and third-party developers to build apps “that provide a constantly improving and ever-more-personalised ownership experience”.
“We are obsessed with creating must-have, distinctively Ford products and services,” said Farley. “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.”