Ford Picks Google over Apple for Connected Vehicle Offerings

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on privacy and connected cars

This raises yet again privacy concerns and who owns and can sell your personal information.

Ford Motor and Google today announced they will improve Ford’s connected vehicle experience. Ford has also named Google Cloud its preferred cloud provider in data, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). As part of this six-year partnership (no rush antitrust regulators it begins in 2023) future Ford and Lincoln vehicles at all price points will be powered by Android, with Google apps and services built-in.

GM is already working with Google to bring new options for a voice assistant, embedded navigation and in-vehicle applications to compatible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles in regions around the world starting in 2021. Broad deployment across all GM vehicle brands is expected to roll out in the years following. (Google Voice Assistant, Navigation and App to Debut at GM)

Ford and Google are establishing a new “collaborative group”, Team Upshift. It’s claimed the talent and assets of both companies, will – marketing babble alert – “push the boundaries of Ford’s transformation, unlock personalized consumer experiences, and drive disruptive, data-driven opportunities. This may include projects ranging from developing new retail experiences when buying a vehicle, creating new ownership offers based on data, and more.”

This raises yet again privacy concerns and who owns and can sell your personal information. The Pew Research Center notes that a digitally networked society runs on, well, quid pro quos. In this non-impeachable case, people exchange details about themselves and their activities for services and products on the web or apps. “Many are willing to accept the deals they are offered in return for sharing insight about their purchases, behaviors and social lives. At times, their personal information is collected by government on the grounds that there are benefits to public safety and security,” says Brooke Auxier, a research associate focusing on internet and technology research at Pew Research Center.

These attitudes are relevant to the so-called mobility companies that most automakers are metamorphosing to since the sale and use of your personal data are key revenue aspects of the business plan. (Pew Research Center on Americans’ Views About Privacy, Surveillance and Data-Sharing, Will Updated Ontario Distracted Driving Laws Induce Drivers to Finally Put Down Their Connected Mobile Devices?)

As its preferred cloud provider and starting later this year, Google will help Ford use Google Cloud’s AI, ML and data analytics technologies to accelerate the automaker’s digital transformation, modernize operations, and power connected vehicle technologies. With Google Cloud, Ford plans to:

  • “Further improve customer experiences for customers with differentiated technology and personalized services;
  • “Accelerate modernization of product development, manufacturing and supply chain management, including exploration of using vision AI for manufacturing employee training and even more reliable plant equipment performance;
  • “Fast track the implementation of data-driven business models resulting in customers receiving real-time notices such as maintenance requests or trade-in alerts.”

Beginning in 2023, Ford and Lincoln customers globally will start to benefit from the Android operating system and with Google apps and services built-in, which include map and voice technology:

  • With Google Assistant, drivers can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, by getting things done with just their voice. (Research show that this is still distracted driving with cognitive impairment similar to drunken driven – Autocrat)
  • With Google Maps as the vehicles’ primary navigation, drivers can in theory reach their destination faster with information on real-time traffic, automatic rerouting, and lane guidance.
  • With Google Play, drivers will have access to their favorite apps for listening to music, podcasts, audiobooks. These apps are optimized and integrated for in-vehicle use.
  • Android in the car also enables Ford and third-party developers to build apps that provide an “improving and ever-more-personalized ownership experience.”

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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