Ford on Monday announced it has entered a six-year deal with Google to introduce the tech giant's Android operating system to future Ford and Lincoln vehicles.
Ford will also rely on Google for cloud services as part of the deal, providing the automaker with access to Google's experience with big data, including AI-based data analytics, for not only customer services but also to improve operations.
The first Fords and Lincolns running Android will appear from 2023.
More and more automakers are choosing to rely on third-party operating systems rather than spending the resources to develop a dedicated system. Others that have signed up for Android include Audi, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (now Stellantis), Volvo, and the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance.
In most cases, the supplied operating system runs in the back end while a brand's specific designs are used for key apps, such as the infotainment system. Ford already does this with its current Sync infotainment system which runs on Blackberry’s QNX operating system. Ford and Google will work together on a new version of Sync to run on Android.
There will also be the opportunity to add many popular Google and third-party apps. Some of these will come built-in, for instance Google's mapping, media and voice-activation apps. In most cases, these apps will be optimized for in-vehicle use.
Ford said it is also developing new customer-oriented apps that leverage Google's cloud. Some that have been mentioned include new retail experiences, such as new car offers and trade-in alerts based on a user's data, as well as real-time notices such as maintenance requests.