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Ford & Google Plan to Reinvent the Connected Vehicle Experience with New Android OS Partnership

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【Summary】Ford Motor Co. and Google have announced a new strategic partnership to accelerate the automaker's transformation and reinvent the connected vehicle experience. As part of the strategic partnership, Future Ford and Lincoln vehicles will come with Google’s Android Automotive OS. The Android OS is an embedded version of Android that Google developed specifically for vehicle infotainment systems.

Eric Walz    Feb 01, 2021 12:10 PM PT
Ford & Google Plan to Reinvent the Connected Vehicle Experience with New Android OS Partnership

As the automotive industry moves toward electrification and connectivity, the world's automakers are partnering with tech companies for help in launching new vehicle technologies. The latest comes from U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co. and internet search giant Google.

Ford and Google have announced a new strategic partnership to accelerate the automaker's transformation and reinvent the connected vehicle experience. As part of the strategic partnership, Future Ford and Lincoln vehicles will support Google's new Android OS.

The six-year partnership begins in 2023. 

Android Automotive OS is an embedded version of Android that Google developed specifically for automakers to include in their vehicle models. 

The infotainment systems in Ford and Lincoln vehicles will be built on top of the Android operating system. Eventually millions of Ford and Lincoln vehicles will be powered by the Android Automotive OS, which means that popular Google apps and services such as Maps and Google Assistant will be built-in to the vehicle's infotainment system without having to sync a cellphone. 

Google Assistant is an AI-powered voice-powered assistant developed by Google primarily for mobile and smart home devices. Now it will be offered in production vehicles. 

Most automakers today only offer support for Android Auto, a more simplified version that allows the driver to view and use apps on the vehicle's display only after plugging in their smartphone or syncing it to the vehicle via Bluetooth. 

With Android Automotive OS, all of the Google apps are optimized for ease of use and integrated for use in a vehicle, allowing drivers to better focus on the road. The Android OS supports OTA updates, so Ford customers will always have the latest software installed in their vehicles.

"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 modernize our business," said Jim Farley, President and CEO of Ford.

Ford vehicles will also feature Google Maps as the primary navigation provider. Google Maps is one of the company's most used apps and includes voice-guided turn-by-turn directions, real-time traffic information, automatic rerouting, lane guidance and more. 

The open-source Android ecosystem also allows Ford and third-party developers to build their own apps that provide a more-personalized ownership experience for Ford customers.

"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 modernize our business," said Jim Farley, President and CEO of Ford. "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."

Ford has named Google Cloud as its preferred cloud provider to leverage the company's expertise in data, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). 

Google will help Ford leverage Google Cloud's AI, ML and data analytics technologies to accelerate the automaker's digital transformation, modernize its operations, and power connected vehicle technologies for future Ford and Lincoln vehicles using Google's secure and reliable cloud-based services. 

"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," said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet. "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."

To support the new partnership, Ford and Google are establishing a new collaborative group called "Team Upshift", which will lead Ford's effort in the connected car space. It will allow Ford to offer personalized customer experiences, and data-driven marketing opportunities. These might include developing new retail experiences when buying a vehicle or creating new ownership offers based on data, Ford said.

Ford will also utilize Google Cloud technology for its business operations to help 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.

Ford is not the first automaker that will embed the Android OS in its vehicles. Volvo's electric brand Polestar announced in November 2018 that its vehicles will be the world's first to come with Android built-in. The Android OS comes standard in the Polestar 2 and replaces a Windows-based infotainment system that Volvo first announced in 2010.










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