Ford cars will get comprehensive Android integration from 2023
On Monday, Ford announced a partnership with Google. The Android Automotive operating system (OS) will be comprehensively integrated into infotainment systems on Ford and Lincoln branded cars. A collaborative group of engineers called Team Upshift will work to personalize in-car consumer experience. Both companies will pool resources and manpower for this. The collaboration will last six years, starting in 2023.
Google Maps and Play Store integration will enhance user experience
Google Maps integration will enable drivers to get real-time traffic updates and automatic rerouting through the car's information displays. With Google Play Store support, Ford customers will be able to use their preferred music streaming services in-car. Ford said it will optimize Google apps for in-car use. However, support for Amazon Alexa and Apple CarPlay will not be dropped once the deal kicks in.
Android Automotive OS is not the same as Android Auto
Google's Android Automotive OS shouldn't be confused with Android Auto. The latter is an interface running on the OS and relies on the user's smartphone. Android Automotive is a Linux-based OS that has been designed to be used in cars.
Google Cloud will be preferred for data-driven business models
Ford announced that Google Cloud will be Team Upshift's preferred cloud provider for business models leveraging Google's Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and data analytics expertise. Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian noted that could mean using data to send consumers real-time notices or scheduled maintenance reminders. Google Cloud integration with Ford cars could be seen later this year.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai on the partnership with Ford
"Ford has set the pace of innovation for the automotive industry. 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 technologies that keep people safe and connected on the road."
Ford-Google partnership said to be stronger than Ford-Microsoft ties
The partnership marks a shift in Ford's preference for its own open-source AppLink system and heavy reliance on Microsoft technologies for Sync. Ford's VP (Strategy), David McClelland said the American carmaker's relationship with Google is set to be more comprehensive than with Microsoft. In 2019, Google opened Android Automotive to third-party developers to improve vehicle infotainment systems.
Systems developed in collaboration will reflect Ford's brand identity
Ford joins Volvo, GM, and Groupe PSA in its partnership with Google. Financial terms of the agreement remain undisclosed. Integrated Google Maps and Assistant features will be available in the US and 180 global markets, except in China. The partnership will allow Ford to personalize the infotainment system's interface and functions to be synonymous with its brand identity, while leveraging Android Automotive OS.