Ford and Google come together in first-of-its-kind partnership

In February 2021, Ford announced that the American automotive giant named Google Cloud as its preferred cloud provider and millions of future Ford and Lincoln vehicles will be powered by Android, and both companies set a new collaborating group called “Team Upshift”. This partnership will start in 2023 and last for 6 years. The purpose of this strategic partnership is to proceed with Ford’s transformation in its history with electrification, connectivity and self-driving. These three words are strongly related to with the acronym, ”CASE”, which represents Connectivity / Connected vehicles, Autonomous Driving, Sharing / Services/ Subscription and Electrification, respectively.

Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world so that this announcement might be a trigger to enable it to be the standard of an automotive operating system as well.

Google’s expertise in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Google’s expertise in data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is very superb. When we want to enhance the capability of AI and ML, gathering enough data is prerequisite. The more the companies gather data, the more they have opportunities to improve AI and ML. Of course, the amount of data does not necessarily mean superiority of new technologies, but Google achieves both in fact. For instance, the American IT giant has 9 products that more than 1 billion users in the beginning of 2021. Can we believe that a single company operates 9 different billion user services, even though it is really difficult to acquire 1 billion users, or even 1 million users? Here is 9 services list.

  • Android: A mobile operating system designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
  • Chrome: A cross-platform web browser.
  • Maps: A web mapping service.
  • Search: A web search engine.
  • YouTube: An online video-sharing platform.
  • Google Play Store: A proprietary background service and API package for Android devices
  • Gmail: A free e-mail service.
  • Google Drive: A file storage and synchronization service
  • Google Photos: A photo sharing and storage service

Megatrend in mobility

The partnership between a big IT company and an automotive manufacturer is not new in mobility era. In fact, collaboration between Alibaba Group and SAIC Motor, between Didi Chuxing and BYD, and between Baidu and Geely are good examples (surprisingly, all six companies are Chinese companies). Therefore, we might say that the announcement between Google and Ford just follows this megatrend. However, we want to note two things.

First, Google’s expertise in AI and ML is different level. As we mentioned before, the IT giant has 9 services that has more than 1 billion users. Automotive manufacturer will never acquire this kind of capabilities because the game in software is totally different from that in hardware. Thus, we can say that this trend will be accelerated.

Second, Android is the most popular mobile operating system and this installation can be a big step to enter the automotive market deeper. Of course, it takes time for automobile manufacturers to choose which operating system for each brand and model. They try to prepare their own software like BMW does. In addition to this, mega automotive suppliers such as BOSCH and Continental do the same way. However, it is convinced that operating systems in vehicles has huge potential and Google’s Android possibly wins the competition.