Ford will source vehicle infotainment from Google starting in 2023
Future vehicles from the Blue Oval are getting a big upgrade in 2023, when Fords (and Lincolns) will begin to integrate Google-based infotainment.
What will this mean in terms of daily driving experience? Rather than using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto phone mirroring or a propriety infotainment system, vehicles with Android Automotive OS use a fully-integrated and Google-based system. That means onboard Google Maps, connectivity with devices like Google Home, and the ability to pepper Google Assistant with questions about restaurant hours or the publishing date of Animal Farm. Owners can also stream media (whether podcasts, audiobooks, or music) via Google Play. Diehard Apple users needn’t fear, though: Ford tells Autoblog that CarPlay will still be available.
We tested the Android Automotive OS infotainment system in the Polestar 2 and found it to be seamless.
Ford may not be the first OEM to offload some infotainment duties to Google, but it’s one of the largest. Volvo’s lineup will be integrating an Android-based system over time, and we’ve heard rumors that GM will join the Alphabet, Inc. party soon, too. Outsourcing infotainment to far more specialized companies is a long-overdue move for automotive manufacturers and, once Google’s systems populate among Ford’s lineup, consumers will reap the benefits of a more intuitive, robust system.
The Blue Oval will also use Google Cloud to “leverage Google’s world-class expertise in data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.” Google’s most visible influence, from 2023 and on, may be found on the dash-mounted screen and accompanying apps in your Ford, but it won’t stop there. Team Upshift, a joint affair between Ford and Google, may soon impact your vehicle purchasing and maintenance processes. Ford remains tight-lipped on any specifics.
Confusingly, Ford isn’t totally ditching its in-house “connected vehicle brand,” Sync. How and if the Sync and Android Automotive brands will coexist is unclear. We had positive impressions of the Sync 4 interface in the 2021 Mach-E, so it’s possible that a Sync-flavored appearance or design could eventually be backed by well-engineered Google tech.