X

Ford's future of infotainment will run on Google's Android

Android replaces Blackberry QNX as the automaker goes all in with Google.

sean-szymkowski-headshot
sean-szymkowski-headshot
Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Ford/Google partnership

Ford and Google sittin' in a tree.

Ford

Ford's betting big on Android to power its future in-car technologies. On Monday, the automaker announced a new partnership with Google that will see the tech giant's Android operating system power future Ford vehicles. The digital experience will begin rolling out to new Ford and cars in 2023 and provide Google services built directly into the car. For Blackberry faithful, that means saying goodbye to QNX, which powered Sync for years now.

It's a route we continue to see automakers take, most notably with Volvo and cousin division Polestar.  Ford didn't entirely detail what will make the partnership "unique" for drivers, but what will come to its cars in two years will be transformative. For example, Google Maps will be the primary navigation system, Google Assistant will be ready and willing to execute commands from the car and Google Play will provide optimized apps for Ford vehicles for music, podcasts and more. On a media call Monday, Ford declined to speak to what kind of branding this package will take, but it sounds like Sync will stick around in some form still. And don't worry, you'll still be able to use Apple CarPlay, should you desire.

Ford and Google said the Android software will also provide access to third-party developers who want a shot at creating apps specifically for the car. The automaker thinks it'll be what drivers increasingly want in the future: more customization and personalization in the car.

On the business side of things, Google and Ford will create Team Upshift, which will help the automaker streamline operations with help from Google's Cloud artificial intelligence and machine learning tech. Among various goals, Ford said Google's help will make it easier to "accelerate product development, manufacturing and supply chain management." It may also create a system enabling owners to receive real-time notices if a vehicle requires maintenance, for example. Team UpShift plans to dig further into data and potentially change up the way Ford and Lincoln operate dealerships, too. That includes online purchasing, something more buyers are tinkering with amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Google and Ford said this partnership will run for six years, but who knows what the future holds for the two.

2021 Ford Escape plays it down the middle

See all photos
samsung-thumb
Watch this: Samsung SmartThings and Android Auto bring smart home controls to your car

Correction: Ford retracted a previous statement concerning the future of the Sync brand. The article reflects the automaker's current position.