Ford has announced that its vehicles will feature Google's Android from 2023. The Michigan-based carmaker noted that it intends to use the Google OS in the infotainment system. Ford becomes the latest in a growing list of automakers that have decided to trust the search engine giant with their cars.
Under the new plan, Ford cars are going to feature the voice-activated assistant, Google Maps, and other apps from the tech giant. Ford also noted that the new plan will now see car owners control climate settings and other aspects of the infotainment system directly using voice commands. Google will also be able to do over-the-air updates on the OS and the apps installed without any issues.
Despite this, the carmaker has made it clear that even though it’s transitioning to Android, its cars will still be comfortable with Apple CarPlay. The company has also said that it will extend support for Amazon Alexa as well. We are, however, not sure which car brands or models will be getting this Android update. The company did say that it anticipates “millions” of its cars under the Ford and Lincoln brand will be taken care of.
Additionally, the company says that the Android cars will be available for its global market except for China. For the last few decades, Ford has been relying on Blackberry’s QNX to technologically power its cars, but it seems things are changing fast. Ford is planning to also build a new version of its Sync operating system and integrate it with Android-powered software to give drivers the best experience.
The Michigan-based carmaker also confirmed that it will sign a six-year deal with Google to use its Cloud services for its cars and all the connected devices. Ford says that it hopes to leverage the “talent and assets of both” Ford and Google to “push the boundaries of its transformation.” The automaker noted that it envisions a future where it may partner with Google to “modernize” its plants using AI.
Nonetheless, bringing Ford into the Android family is a huge achievement for Google. The search engine giant has been signing up several automakers including General Motors and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. But there could be a few issues down the line. For so many years, many automakers had managed to keep tech giants out of the auto industry for fears of privacy. There is no place on earth where customer data are more abundant than inside a car.
It's not clear whether Google intends to collect and use data from its car-based android system. But if the experience is anything to go by, it will be very unlikely if the Silicon Valley giant passes on the opportunity. It's also not the first time Ford is teaming up with Google. The two companies were rumored to be mauling over an alliance in 2016 around autonomous cars but the news was never confirmed.