Ford is the newest automaker to show its car working methods over to Google. The Dearborn, Michigan-based firm stated it’ll use Google’s Android to energy the infotainment methods in “tens of millions” of its automobiles beginning in 2023. Meaning Google’s voice-activated Assistant, Google Maps, and different automotive-approved Android apps can be accessible in Ford’s automobiles with out requiring the usage of an Android smartphone.
The deep integration of Android will enable drivers and passengers to make use of Google Assistant to alter issues like local weather settings, and it’ll additionally allow over-the-air updates that may add new options or deal with some upkeep points, in response to Ford. However iPhone individuals, don’t despair: Ford’s system will nonetheless be suitable with Apple CarPlay. And Ford will proceed to supply Amazon’s Alexa as an choice as effectively.
Ford wouldn’t say which of its autos will get the Android working system beginning in 2023, solely that “tens of millions” of autos beneath the Ford and Lincoln manufacturers would have it. The autos can be accessible throughout the globe besides in China. However Ford wouldn’t say whether or not it’ll use Google’s Android Automotive product, which is embedded natively within the car. As an alternative, its use of Android could be “uniquely Ford and Lincoln,” Ford’s VP of technique and partnerships, David McClelland, stated in a convention name with reporters.
As well as, Ford is signing a six-year partnership with Google to make use of the tech big’s Cloud as its most popular cloud supplier for its linked car providers. And Ford and Google will create a brand new group, comprised of workers from each firms, known as Group Upshift that can be tasked with discovering different areas of innovation.
“We’re going to leverage the expertise and property of each firms to push the boundaries of Ford’s transformation, unlock customized shopper experiences, and drive disruptive, data-driven alternatives,” McClelland stated in a Medium post. “This will embrace tasks starting from modernizing our crops by way of imaginative and prescient AI, creating new retail experiences when shopping for a car, creating new possession affords based mostly on linked car knowledge, and extra.”
It’s a significant coup for Google, which has been flexing its muscle tissue by including a lot of main automakers to its secure of consumers utilizing Android in its autos. Ford joins Volvo, General Motors, and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance in putting a cope with Google to make use of its software program to energy its car infotainment providers.
But it surely will also be a slippery slope. Initially, automotive firms appeared to need to keep big tech companies at arm’s length to forestall them from tapping into the profitable buyer knowledge streams flowing out and in of their autos. However Ford figures that by letting Google beneath the hood, it might in all probability promote extra automobiles to clients who would favor a extra smartphone-like in-car expertise than the software program presently offered by the automaker.
It’s unclear the place this leaves Ford’s Sync infotainment system. All the automaker’s most up-to-date fashions, such because the just lately launched Mustang Mach-E, run on Sync 4 to energy such options as navigation, radio, and local weather settings. In a convention name with reporters, McClelland stated Sync was a “differentiated model” that was working in tens of millions of autos, however he wouldn’t immediately deal with the way forward for the working system.
Ford shouldn’t should abandon Sync altogether, given the pliability afforded by Google’s native Android Automotive system. This method permits Google to do extra of the heavy lifting on the software program aspect, whereas leaving the automakers with the liberty to design the OS to match their tastes. For instance, the embedded Android system on the Polestar 2, which is made by Volvo and Geely, appears to be like quite a bit like Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system.
There have been different main pairings between automotive firms and tech companies in latest weeks. Microsoft and GM’s self-driving subsidiary Cruise introduced just lately that it will be teaming up to the mark the event of self-driving automobiles. And Apple is rumored to be in talks with Hyundai a couple of comparable partnership.
It’s an attention-grabbing growth within the relationship between the nation’s oldest automakers and its greatest tech firm. Ford and Google were rumored to type a three way partnership round autonomous autos again in 2016, however it by no means panned out. Though the JV by no means materialized, the 2 firms stored issues open-ended and clearly, given at this time’s information, by no means misplaced contact with each other.