Ford signs deal with Google to use its technology in vehicles

Photo (c) Steve Raymer - Getty Images

The six-year deal begins in 2023

Ford has signed a deal with Google to provide the automaker’s in-vehicle connectivity starting in 2023. Under the terms of the six-year deal, Google will provide cloud services and other technical support.

Beginning in 2023, millions of future Ford and Lincoln vehicles at all price points will be powered by Android, with Google apps and services built-in. Ford said it will save the company millions of dollars since it will no longer be handling that in-house.

For Google, analysts say the deal provides the tech giant with a high-profile customer for its cloud services, helping it gain market share from segment leaders AWS and Microsoft.

“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, Ford’s CEO.

The partnership will equip Ford and Lincoln vehicles with a number of popular apps, including Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Google Play. Meanwhile, cloud connectivity may make other services possible. For example, Ford could use the cloud to send drivers messages about scheduled maintenance and even trade-in opportunities.

Ford’s deal follows a similar partnership that General Motors and Google announced in 2019. The two companies are currently working to integrate Google Assistant and other apps into GM vehicles.

Not a hard decision

Farley says the move to replace its in-house technology development with Google was not a hard decision. He points to available research that shows many drivers are already using Google’s apps in the car. The deal will simply make that easier by integrating the services into the vehicle’s hardware.

Ford says voice-activated apps like Google Assistant are especially practical for vehicles and may promote safety. Drivers can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while performing tasks with just their voice.

With Google Maps as the vehicles’ primary navigation, the company said drivers can reach their destination faster with information on real-time traffic, automatic rerouting, and lane guidance.

The companies say their deal also extends to services outside of vehicles. Google will help Ford employ artificial intelligence in its factories to manage supply chain logistics and vehicle assembly.

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