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Ford and Google team up to build Android into cars

A new six-year partnership will see the Google Play Store built into Ford and Lincoln cars at all price points

Ford and Google announced this week their strategic partnership to accelerate Ford’s transformation and reinvent the connected vehicle experience. Ford has also named Google Cloud as its preferred cloud provider to leverage Google’s expertise in data, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML).

The new partnership will span 6 years. In 2023, Ford aims to have millions of its Ford and Lincoln vehicles at all price points powered by Android, with Google apps and services built-in.

Ford and Google have also established a new collaborative group, Team Upshift to drive innovation between the two companies. Team Upshift will leverage the talent and assets of both companies. This includes projects developing new retail experiences when buying a vehicle, and creating new ownership offers based on data.

Jim Farley, president and CEO of Ford, says: “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 modernise our business.”

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet says: “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 says it will help Ford leverage Google Cloud’s AI, ML and data analytics technologies to accelerate the automaker’s digital transformation, modernise operations, and power connected vehicle technologies with its cloud.

Ford provided what it plans to do with Google Cloud:

  • 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.

On the consumer side, Ford provided functionality of Android integration in cars:

  • With Google Assistant, drivers can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, by getting things done with their voice.
  • With Google Maps as the vehicles’ primary navigation, drivers can reach their destination faster with information on real-time traffic, automatic rerouting, and lane guidance.
  • With Google Play, drivers will have access to their apps for listening to music, podcasts, and audiobooks. Many of these apps are optimised and integrated for in-vehicle use.

Ford claims that Android in the car will enable the company 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,” says 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.”

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