Ford has detailed its latest generation of infotainment, with the Nautilus from its luxury brand Lincoln showing the full scope of its capabilities.
The Nautilus, revealed last year, features a 48-inch panoramic display that stretches across the dashboard, plus a 11.1-inch touchscreen closer to the driver.
The panoramic display sees critical information – for example, cruise control readouts – placed in the driver’s line of sight.
Ford is calling the new Android Automotive-based system the Ford Digital Experience (or Lincoln Digital Experience), and thus far has only confirmed it for the Nautilus.
While it’s unlikely every model using the system will have quite as expansive a screen array as the Lexus RX-rivalling Nautilus, Ford still plans to offer a bevy of features across models with the new system.
Being powered by Google, the Digital Experience therefore includes integrated Google Maps, the Google Play app store, and Google Assistant, as well as Android Auto.
If you forget your mobile phone, there are embedded audio apps like Spotify and Audible.
You can download games through the Google Play store, including a Ford-exclusive version of the racing game Asphalt Nitro 2, which can be played while parked. You can even connect a Bluetooth-enabled gaming controller.
Likewise, if you’re parked you can stream media from YouTube and Prime Video. There’s also a web browser, Vivaldi, with Google Chrome coming soon, and you can connect a Bluetooth keyboard.
Apple CarPlay also features, as does Amazon’s Alexa Built-In. The latter can be used to, for example, search information, set a destination, adjust the cabin temperature, and control connected home devices.
Ford also says “leading video conferencing apps” are coming soon, allowing you to dial into a meeting on the go. Video access will also be available when parked.
You’ll be able to place apps and services in the desired spot on the touchscreen or panoramic screen, with widgets providing an overview of key information like fuel economy and weather.
You’ll also be able to set different profiles for each driver, with specific settings for seating, steering wheel and mirror positions as well as favourite contacts and destinations.
Ford says processing times are more than five times faster than its current infotainment system, with graphics processing 14 times faster and the system boasting four times the memory and eight times the storage.
Over-the-air updates are available, while there’s 5G wireless connectivity and the ability to activate a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Ford says it’s developing more of its software in-house in order to deliver updates more quickly, and has shifted to a single module for the instrument cluster and infotainment system to further support faster updates.
Further, it says bringing more software development in-house allowed it to create “unique experiences” like the widgets in the panoramic display.
Myriad carmakers have based their systems off of the Android Automotive platform, including General Motors, Honda, Polestar, Stellantis and Volvo.
The Lincoln Nautilus isn’t the first Ford Motor Company product to offer a screen stretching across the dashboard, with Chinese Fords like the Evos featuring a single, continuous screen spanning almost entirely across the dash that incorporates a digital instrument cluster, a central touchscreen and a passenger display.