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Ford and Google announce six-year partnership
Google to help Ford up its technology game with new infotainment system due 2023
2 Feb 2021
FORD Motor Company and Google have announced a new six-year partnership which will see the Blue Oval adopt Android-powered operating systems in all of its vehicles as of 2023 along with dedicated apps including Google Maps.
Essentially a digital makeover, Google will help Ford leverage its expertise in data, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) as the Detroit auto giant looks to “further improve customer experiences for customers with differentiated technology and personalised services”.
Save for extra expertise afforded by Google, the partnership will also mean the technology can be implemented into vehicles across all segments and price points (as of 2023) with other key Android apps and built-in services including Google Assistant and Google Play, both of which will be optimised for use while driving.
Described by Ford president and CEO Jim Farley as establishing “an innovation powerhouse”, the partnership will extend to more than just enhanced user experiences with access to and leveraging of Google Cloud’s AI, ML and data analytics technology set to help Ford modernise its product development, supply chain management and employee training operations as well as “fast-track the implementation of data-driven business models”.
Not only does the partnership bode well for Ford as an entity, it also involves the Australian engineering team which will be responsible for integrating the new technology into the vehicles it develops for 180 markets around the world.
According to Ford Australia, this will enable the local team to accelerate its capabilities in tech-auto integration even faster, positioning it to become a world leader in what has become a vital area of vehicle development.
Melbourne-based Ford engineering director Con Papadomanolakis said the new partnership would give customers the same digital experiences in their vehicles as they have on their phones with the platform set to continually update over time.
“As a customer, your experience up until now is that your vehicle tech gradually becomes obsolete, but with this partnership, new apps will provide a constantly improving and ever-more-personalised ownership experience,” he said.
“Our 2500-strong team in Australia engineer world-class global vehicles, and connectivity is an ever-growing part of that development.
“We’ll keep prioritising the growth and development of our Australian team to support and benefit from these exciting new technologies.
“We expect this partnership to accelerate our Australian team’s abilities so that we can become world leaders in the auto-tech space, and to have that kind of skill in Australia is incredibly valuable not just for Ford but for Australia overall.”
Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai was equally as enthusiastic about the new alliance and cited Ford’s long history of industry innovation.
“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,” he said.
According to a report by British publication Autocar, the rollout of the new infotainment system will mark the end of the current Microsoft co-developed Sync system in all markets save for China due to the national ban on all Google services.
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