- Ford and Lincoln cars will run Android starting in 2023.
- The addition will bring Google Assistant, Maps, and Play Store apps to drivers.
- Theyâ€™re also forming a Team Upshift group to push innovation.
Android Automotive is about to become decidedly more ubiquitous. Ford has formed a partnership with Google that, among other things, will see its cars (including Lincoln models) running on Android starting in 2023.
Fordâ€™s Android integration will give â€œmillionsâ€� of cars worldwide extensive access to Google features, including Assistant, Maps, and Play Store apps. The platform should also deliver over-the-air updates â€” a sore point for conventional automakers that often ask you to upgrade by plugging in USB drives or even visiting dealerships.
The companies didnâ€™t say which cars would be first to get Android, although itâ€™s reasonable to expect Ford to prioritize electric cars and other cutting-edge vehicles.
Related: This is the new Android Auto
Ford and Google will also cooperate well beyond Android. Theyâ€™re forming a collaborative group, Team Upshift, that will â€œpush the boundariesâ€� at Ford. This could use data and technology to shape your car shopping experience, for instance. Google will also serve as the â€œpreferredâ€� cloud provider for AI and other tasks.
The car giant is relatively late to Android-based infotainment systems. Volvoâ€™s Polestar brand made a big point of using the technology in its Polestar 2 EV, but Google also has Android deals with GM, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, and Peugeot owner Groupe PSA (now joined with Fiat Chrysler under Stellantis).
Fordâ€™s deal is nonetheless massive, and promises to bring Android to many more drivers. It could also be critical to Fordâ€™s future. Modern vehicles are reliant on powerful software, and that dependence is only going to increase as the industry transitions toward EVs, connected car tech, and self-driving features. Android offloads some of this difficult work to Google and could help Ford compete against Tesla and other rivals that have a head start on in-car interfaces.