Ford, Google join hands to offer cloud-based data services

Platform Industry: Ford logo on a truck

Ford Motor Company will utilise software, cloud computing and AI offered by Google to develop new consumer services and modernize its internal operations, the companies announced on Monday.

As part of a six-year partnership, the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker will incorporate the tech giant’s Android operating system into its Ford and Lincoln vehicles starting in 2023.

Ford will offer its customers built-in Google apps, including its map and voice technology. It will deploy Google’s AI technology to improve the efficiency of vehicle development, the company’s supply chain and manufacturing operations, the companies said.

The companies will also form a group, Team Upshift, to explore uses of data to develop new retail, create new ownership offers and other services for Ford customers.

Ford customer data will not be handed over to Google or Google advertisers, Ford Motor Company VP for strategy, David McClelland, said during a conference call.

The automaker will continue to use other cloud service providers and collaborate with other tech companies such as Amazon.com, he said.

“Will Ford be like Foxconn? No. Absolutely not,” McClelland said, alluding to a fear among some auto sector executives that auto manufacturers would be relegated to low-margin hardware assembly, like iPhone assembler Foxconn, in any deal with a technology industry power.

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McClelland and Google Cloud chief Thomas Kurian did not disclose details of the commercial terms of the agreement.

The Google-Ford partnership reflects growing pressure on automakers to speed of software and data-enabled services that can generate revenue or cut costs.

Ford, like its established rivals, has watched electric vehicle maker Tesla become the world’s most valuable automaker by far, in part because investors view Tesla as far ahead when it comes to the software and data management required for connected and electric cars.

Last year, Amazon.com joined hands with Toyota to help manage and monetize data gathered from the automaker’s global vehicle fleet, while Volkswagen in 2019 struck a deal with Microsoft to cooperate on cloud computing in China and the United States.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Translation from English to other languages via Google Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Shreyasee Raj in Bengaluru. Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Bernadette Baum.

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