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Ford In Pact With Google To Add Android Operating System To Millions Of Vehicles

Ford and Google have signed a six-year contract that places the Android operating system aboard millions of Ford vehicles in the next six years. It will bring a wide range of apps and programs to the Ford fleet.

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Ford and Google have inked a new contract that sets up a six-year partnership, beginning in 2023, that will put the Android operating system in millions of Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

The unique strategic partnership will speed, transform, and reinvent the connected vehicle experience, the automaker said in its Monday announcement. To drive their ongoing innovation program, Ford and Google, the Android operating system supplier, are setting up a new collaborative group, Team Upshift. The new unit will push the boundaries of Ford's transformation, unlock personalized consumer experiences, and seek new data-driven opportunities. It may include developing new retail experiences when buying a vehicle, creating new ownership offers based on data, and more.

In announcing the partnership, Jim Farley, Ford president, and CEO said:

"As Ford continues the most profound transformation in our history with electrification, connectivity, and self-driving, Google and Ford coming together establish an innovation powerhouse truly able to deliver a superior experience for our customers and modernize our business."

Sundar Pichai, Google, and Alphabet, CEO, said:

"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. 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."

In the partnership announcement, Ford has named the Google Cloud as its preferred cloud access provider. The new Cloud access will leverage Google's world-class experience in data, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML).

As its preferred cloud provider -- starting later this year -- Google will help Ford leverage Google Cloud's AI, ML, and data analytics technologies to accelerate three major goals: digital transformation, modernize operations, and power connected vehicle technologies with Google's trusted, secure, and reliable cloud. With the Google Cloud, Ford plans to:

  • Further improve customer experiences for customers with differentiated technology and personalized services
  • Accelerate modernization 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

Ford and Google have a shared vision to bring enjoyable, safer, and more efficient connected vehicle experiences built to minimize driver distraction and keep customers at the forefront of technology with over-the-air updates.

Beginning in 2023, Ford and Lincoln customers globally will start to benefit from unique digital experiences built on top of the Android operating system and with Google apps and services built-in, which include a world-class map and voice technology:

  • With Google Assistant, drivers can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel by getting things done with just their voice
  • With Google Maps as the vehicles' primary navigation, drivers can reach their destination faster with information on real-time traffic, automatic rerouting, lane guidance, and more
  • With Google Play, drivers will have access to their favorite apps for listening to music, podcasts, audiobooks, and more. These apps are optimized and integrated for in-vehicle use
  • Android in the car also enables Ford and third-party developers to build apps that provide a constantly improving and ever-more-personalized 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."

Marc Stern has been an auto writer since 1971. It was a position that filled two boyhood dreams: One that I would write, and two that I write about cars. When I took over as my newspaper's auto editor, I began a 32-year career as an automotive columnist. There isn't much on four wheels that I haven't driven or reviewed. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. Today, I am the Ford F150 reporter for Torque News. I write how-to and help columns for online sites such as Fixya.com and others. You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Most of Marc's stories are part of Torque News Ford coverage. Check back again and search for Torque News Ford F-150 news for more F-150 truck news coverage.

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