American multinational automaker, Ford, and technology giant, Google, have reportedly announced a six-year strategic partnership aimed at collaborating on new technologies and deploying Googles Android operating system as the primary system in infotainment screens across millions of Ford and Lincoln cars and trucks beginning 2023. Financial terms of the arrangement have not been disclosed by the companies.
According to the sources familiar with the matter, the Android operating system will allow drivers to access Google Maps for in-vehicle navigation and Googles Voice Assistant for managing voice commands in the car without using their Android phone. For a while now, Ford vehicles have been offering its proprietary Sync system from 2007 throughout its car portfolio. However, it is not clear if Ford will continue using the Sync name on this new system.
Furthermore, effective 2023, Ford cars will also offer Google Play Stores in-car version to download apps pertaining with music, podcasts, and audiobooks. According to Ford and Google executives, Google will also be the preferred provider of cloud data storage for Ford. In addition, the automaker will also use artificial intelligence and data analytics capabilities of Google to effectively interpret the data collected from vehicles and its own operations to enhance things like manufacturing, customer service, and marketing.
For the record, General Motors (GM) has also announced a similar collaboration arrangement with Microsoft in which the latter would serve as cloud storage provider for GM and Cruise which is the self-driving car company affiliated to GM. However, Ford and Google have not specifically mentioned if Googles cloud computing systems would be used for autonomous vehicles, as in the Microsoft-GM agreement.
Under this collaboration, Google and Ford will form a group named Team Upshift to jointly develop new ways of working together. Executives from both the companies believe that the team will work on things such as enhancing the experience of online car shopping using customer data.
Reportedly, this is Google's first major deal with an automaker, however, Volvo and its electric vehicle spin-off Polestar already use Android operating system in some of their vehicles, with plans to incorporate advanced solutions in the future.