Ford, Google partner on software, cloud services

It’s a partnership Henry Ford could not have imagined when he founded his car company back in 1903.

But on Monday, the Ford Motor Company announced it will tap into software, cloud computing and artificial intelligence offered by Google to develop new consumer services and modernize its internal operations.

As part of a six-year deal, the Dearborn, Michigan-based auto company will incorporate Google’s Android operating system into its Ford and Lincoln vehicles, beginning in 2023.

Ford will offer built-in Google apps – such as Google Maps and Google Assistant.

It will also deploy Google’s artificial intelligence technology to improve the efficiency of its vehicle development, supply chain and manufacturing operations.

And the two companies will form a group called Team Upshift to explore new uses for customer data.

But that data will not be handed over to Google or Google advertisers, a Ford executive said.

The Google-Ford partnership reflects growing pressure on automakers to speed up software and data services that can generate revenue.

Ford and its rivals have watched as Tesla became the world's most valuable automaker by far, in part because investors view it as far ahead when it comes to the software and data management needed for electric cars and in-vehicle connectivity.

Last year, Amazon partnered with Toyota to help manage and monetize its customer data, while Volkswagen AG in 2019 struck a deal with Microsoft to cooperate on cloud computing in China and the U.S.

Shares of Ford and Google parent company Alphabet rose Monday.