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Ford cars will run Android starting in 2023

It's one of the largest car makers to embrace Google's automotive platform.

Published onFebruary 1, 2021

ford 2021 mustang mach e
  • Ford and Lincoln cars will run Android starting in 2023.
  • The addition will bring Google Assistant, Maps, and Play Store apps to drivers.
  • They’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.

Ford’s Android integration will give “millions” of cars worldwide extensive access to Google features, including Assistant, Maps, and Play Store apps. The platform should also deliver over-the-air updates — a sore point for conventional automakers that often ask you to upgrade by plugging in USB drives or even visiting dealerships.

The companies didn’t say which cars would be first to get Android, although it’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. They’re forming a collaborative group, Team Upshift, that will “push the boundaries” at Ford. This could use data and technology to shape your car shopping experience, for instance. Google will also serve as the “preferred” cloud provider for AI and other tasks.

The car giant is relatively late to Android-based infotainment systems. Volvo’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).

Ford’s deal is nonetheless massive, and promises to bring Android to many more drivers. It could also be critical to Ford’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.

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