Google has been working on their native Android for cars — Android Automotive — for a while now but it has yet to make it to market in any real volume (Polestar had plans for last year). Now the latest manufacturer to sign up to Android Automotive is Ford and by all indications looks set to bring it to their Australian fleet.
Overnight Ford and Google have announced the establishment of a new “collaborative group” called Team Upshift designed to leverage the talents and assets of both companies.
The plans are to improve customer experiences with “differentiated technology and personalised services” using Ford’s version of Android Automotive. Beginning in 2023, Ford (and Lincoln) customers will globally start to benefit from “unique digital experiences” built on top of Android, with Google apps and services built into the operating experience.
The infotainment system, although Ford do not come out and say as such, looks to be true Android Automotive with built in Google Play to allow drivers access to their favourite apps with the apps optimised for in-vehicular use — all without the requirement of an Android phone.
“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.”
Android Automotive will allow Ford to build their entire HVAC and infotainment system on top of Android, making it easy to access and flow seamlessly with the entire interface. Those who use Apple CarPlay will still be able to plug in their phones to use that and the system will continue to support Amazon Alexa.
Other services provided by Google include their AI, ML and Cloud services to transform and modernise Ford’s business across its entirety. Interestingly, a lot of the development will occur in Australia with the Australian development team responsible for integrating the new technology into the vehicles it develops for over 180 markets worldwide.
Ford Engineering Director, Con Papadomanolakis said:
“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.”
Ford have stated that not only will the new system be available globally but also be available across their entire range, at all price points.