Ford Motor, the American automaker company, will tap into software, artificial intelligence and cloud computing offered by tech giant Google to develop new consumer services and modernize internal operations, the companies announced.
As part of a six-year partnership, the automaker will incorporate the tech giant’s Android operating system into its Ford and Lincoln vehicles starting in 2023.
Ford will offer its customers built-in Google apps, including its map and voice technology. It will deploy Google artificial intelligence technology to improve the efficiency of vehicle development, supply chain and manufacturing operations, the companies said. The companies will also form a group, Team Upshift, to explore uses of data to develop new retail, create new ownership offers and other services for Ford customers.
Ford customer data will not be handed over to Google or Google advertisers, Ford vice president for strategy, David McClelland assured. The automaker will continue to use other cloud service providers and collaborate with other tech companies such as eCommerce giant Amazon, he added.
Mr. McClelland and Google Cloud chief Thomas Kurian did not disclose details of the commercial terms of the agreement.
Need to upgrade
The Google-Ford partnership reflects growing pressure on automakers to speed up software and data-enabled services that can generate revenue or cut costs.
Ford, like its established rivals, has watched US-based electric vehicle maker Tesla become the world’s most valuable automaker by far, in part because investors view Tesla as far ahead when it comes to the software and data management required for connected and electric cars.
Last year, Amazon joined hands with Japan’s Toyota Motor to help manage and monetize data gathered from the automaker’s global vehicle fleet, while Germany’s Volkswagen in 2019 struck a deal with software company Microsoft to cooperate on cloud computing in China and the United States.