‘Millions’ of Ford cars to be powered by Android in major Google deal

5 Feb 2021

Image: © mino21/Stock.adobe.com

Ford is betting on Google to boost its digital transformation and ‘reinvent’ connected vehicles in a six-year deal.

Google and Ford announced a new partnership earlier this week that will bring Android tech to Ford cars and accelerate the auto company’s digital transformation.

From 2023, the six-year partnership will see millions of future Ford and Lincoln vehicles powered by Android, with Google apps and services built in, in a bid to “reinvent the connected vehicle experience”.

This will include voice-activated Google Assistant, Google Maps for navigation, and Google Play for controlling music and podcasts. The use of Android will also enable Ford and third-party developers to build apps for vehicles.

“We are obsessed with creating must-have, distinctively Ford products and services,” said Jim Farley, president and CEO of Ford. “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 part of the partnership, Google will also become Ford’s preferred cloud provider. The automaker said it will leverage Google’s experience in data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to accelerate digital transformation, modernise operations and power connected vehicle technologies.

This will include improving customer experiences with personalised services, modernising product development, manufacturing and supply chain management, and implementing data-driven business models.

Ford and Google will also establish a new collaborative group, Team Upshift, to explore opportunities for innovation in the auto space. This might include developing new retail experiences when buying a vehicle, or creating offers based on data.

“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,” Farley added.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to an estimate by Morgan Stanley, the deal could create an annual revenue stream of $9bn for Ford and generate $5bn in profits.

As well as bringing the Android operating system to millions of vehicles, the deal could also be a boost for Google’s cloud business. The tech giant disclosed financials for its cloud computing unit for the first time earlier this week, revealing that made a loss of $5.6bn in 2020 on revenues of $13.1bn.

Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic