Google to provide Ford with operating and cloud systems

02 February 2021

2 February 2021

Ford has partnered with Google to provide unique services and capabilities for both itself and drivers using the internet giant’s Android platform and cloud-based systems.

The six-year partnership will see the companies collaborate to develop connectivity platforms for vehicles. As part of the agreement, Ford and Google will establish a new working group, Team Upshift, to create personalised consumer experiences and provide data-driven opportunities.

The automotive industry continues to embrace the changes and possibilities that technological developments bring. Ford is aiming to transform itself from a simple carmaker to embrace the new digital age, while also establishing itself as a leader in zero-carbon vehicles and autonomous-driving systems.

While the carmaker is already forging its own path with fully-autonomous vehicle systems, thanks to its purchase of Argo AI, Ford has decided to rely on tie-ups to help advance its competence in other emerging markets.

In 2020, the company finalised a deal with Volkswagen Group, which allows it to use the German manufacturer’s electric MEB platform, while its partnership with Google gives it access to an operating system and cloud-data storage. Google Cloud will allow Ford to leverage its expertise in data management, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

′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 modernise our business,’ said Jim Farley, president and CEO of Ford.

Cloud based

Google Cloud will help the carmaker to accelerate its digital transformation while modernising operations and power connected-vehicle technologies. This will allow for improved customer experiences with differentiated technology and personalised services for drivers, making their car not just a tool to get from A to B, but a device, much like their smartphone, which they can customise to their liking.

The cloud-based systems will also help Ford with its supply-chain management and product development, including the use of AI systems for manufacturing-employee training and monitoring plant equipment to improve efficiency. The ability to log and study user and vehicle data will also help create and drive new business models, resulting in customers receiving notifications such as maintenance requests or trade-in alerts.

Over the air

From 2023, Ford vehicles will feature Google apps based on the Android operating system, including voice control and mapping. Furthermore, the system will also allow Ford and third-party app developers to provide services that will enable even more customer personalisation.

′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.’

As with any app-based system, updates can be sent digitally, meaning drivers will benefit from the latest information. At the same time, vehicle systems can also be amended without the need for intervention by technicians.

The collaboration is the latest example of awareness for vehicle personalisation, which is likely to become a market trend in coming years as carmakers embrace digital technology, and users crave the same level of uniqueness they can attribute to other smart devices.