Ford to use Android operating system from 2023

Ford is the latest company to announce its infotainment system will be powered by Google’s Android operating system.

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William Stopford
Journalist

One company pioneered the automotive assembly line, the other introduced a search engine so popular it became a verb.

Now, Ford and Google are teaming up.

The two companies have signed a six-year partnership where, beginning in 2023, millions of Ford and Lincoln vehicles will be powered by Android instead of simply offering Android Auto.

Google Maps will become the primary navigation system in new Ford vehicles, while Google Assistant will become Ford’s in-car voice assistant.

Customers will also be able to use Google Play in their cars to access various apps that have been optimised for in-car use, including music, podcast and audiobook apps.

Using Android also allows Ford and third-party developers to develop apps to improve the Ford ownership experience.

If you’re an iPhone user, you’ll still be able to use Apple CarPlay according to The Verge.

In addition to getting access to Android infotainment, Ford will also use Google Cloud as its cloud provider.

The company says Google Cloud’s artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics technologies will help with its digital transformation and power connected vehicle technologies.

It hopes to accelerate the modernisation of the systems it uses to build its cars and manage inventory, while customers will also benefit with personalised services and real-time information such as maintenance requests.

Ford’s Australian engineering team – responsible for, among other vehicles, the Ranger – will be among those responsible for integrating the new operating system in its cars.

“Our 2500-strong team in Australia engineer world-class global vehicles, and connectivity is an ever-growing part of that development,” said Ford engineering director Con Papadomanolakis.

“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.”

Android Automotive is becoming an increasingly popular operating system in the industry.

Polestar was the first company to announce it would use the operating system for its infotainment systems, while the XC40 Recharge from sister brand Volvo is the first vehicle to be offered in Australia with the OS.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and General Motors have already announced they’ll start rolling out the OS this year, while Stellantis announced last year it would begin rolling out the system in 2023.

It’s not the first time Ford has teamed up with a tech giant.

The company partnered with Microsoft in 2007 to introduce the Sync system in various models, and for two generations Sync used the Windows Embedded Automotive operating system designed by Microsoft.

For versions three and four, the latter of which can be found in models like the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Sync is underpinned by Blackberry’s QNX.

MORE: Ford news, reviews, comparisons and videos


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