Ford is working in a big way with Google to bring Android software to its in-car technology. Google will help Ford in a number of ways, but the most impressive news for end users is that future Ford and Lincoln vehicles will have Android infotainment systems with built-in Google apps in the user interface.
That means Google Maps will become the car’s native navigation system. Google Assistant becomes the voice assistant. And Google Play will be on board with its mountain of apps to choose from for listening to music, podcasts and audiobooks. Thank Google’s open-source Android Automotive software for making this possible.
Several other car manufacturers are gearing up to implement Android Automotive as their infotainment system. GM, Volkswagen brands and Volvo are all destined to have Android Automotive in the future. Polestar has already launched the Polestar 2 with Android Automotive, and we really enjoyed it. Ford says we can expect it to appear in its products in 2023, but it doesn’t say which one yet.
We asked Ford what this meant about Sync’s fate, but the answer isn’t clear yet. A Ford spokesman said: “SYNC is our connected vehicle brand and we are building on its popularity.” The branding and future naming is a bit dark for now. Ford has confirmed to us that this Android Automotive software can still run Apple CarPlay, so Apple users have nothing to worry about.
In addition to the infotainment news, Ford also says it will use the Google Cloud to improve the artificial intelligence and machine learning of its cars. In addition, there will be a collaborative Ford / Google team called Team Upshift that will work on projects “ranging from developing new shopping experiences when buying a car to creating new ownership offers based on data, and more.”
It’s a bit sketchy now, but should come into focus over the years. We are delighted to see Android Automotive as Ford’s infotainment system. The Mustang Mach-E’s Sync 4 software is pretty good to live with for now.