In-Car Tech

Ford, Google form a strategic partnership to reinvent the connected vehicle experience

Ford and Google are teaming up to launch a new technology initiaitve.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

New models and fresh powertrain options are typical focuses for customers. Auotmakers have to reach futher, diving into the future during the present. Today, Ford has taken a step into its future by announcing a strategic partnership with Google that aims to transform and reinvent the connected vehicle experience.

The partnership will last six years with customers seeing the first fruits of its labor in 2023 when Ford and Lincoln vehicles begin to be powered by Android, with Google app and services built in. Polestar has already taken this leap.

Ford and Google personnel will work together under a new collaborative group, Team Upshift. They are tasked with pushing "the boundaries of Ford's transformation", unlocking personalized customer experiences, and "drive disruptive, data-driven opportunities". As an example, Ford offers that this may include "projects ranging from developing new retail experiences when buying a vehicle, creating new ownership offers based on data, and more".

"As Ford continues the most profound transformation in our history with electrification, connectivity and self-driving, Google and Ford coming together establishes an innovation powerhouse truly able to deliver a superior experience for our customers and modernize our business," said Jim Farley, President and CEO of Ford.

"From the first moving assembly line to the latest driver-assist technology, Ford has set the pace of innovation for the automotive industry for nearly 120 years," said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet. "We're proud to partner to apply the best of Google's AI, data analytics, compute and cloud platforms to help transform Ford's business and build automotive technologies that keep people safe and connected on the road."

As part of the agreement, Ford has named Google Cloud as its preferred cloud partner as it aims to leverage Google's expertise in data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning for future use. 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.

Android in the car also enables Ford and third-party developers to build apps that provide a continuously improving and ever-more-personalized ownership experience.

"We are obsessed with creating must-have, distinctively Ford products and services," said Farley. "This integration will unleash our teams to innovate for Ford and Lincoln customers while seamlessly providing access to Google's world-class apps and services."

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The Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group offers factory-backed half-door comfort, style, and safety.
Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Jeep Wrangler owners who want an open-air experience but don't want the complete doors-off look have a new from-the-factory option. Jeep Performance Parts and Mopar have worked together to create new half-doors for the iconic SUV.

The new Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group features two factory engineered, tested, and backed half-door options that offer owners the option to have production-level styling, security, and occupancy protection in addition to improved visibility.

Available for both two- and four-door Jeep Wrangler models through the Mopar Custom Shop, as part of an original new-vehicle purchase in the U.S. and Canada, the new Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group includes both full and half doors. Full-steel production doors are installed on the vehicle while matching body-color half doors are packaged within the vehicle.

    Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group

    Photo courtesy of Stellantis

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    With production-level materials and build quality, new half doors are designed to work when equipped with any of the following features: power mirrors, blind-spot detection, passive and non-passive entry handles, and power locks. A quick and easy swap from full doors to half doors can be accomplished within minutes using the existing hinge locations and the exact same wiring connections.

    The newly developed upper-window assemblies are designed to have a weather-tight sealant feature zippered plastic windows. Two materials are offered for the assemblies: base-model vinyl that matches the production soft-top roof or premium acrylic that matches the premium soft-top roof.

    Each upper-door frame section uses an easy, tool-free, dual-guide post feature for easy installation and removal.

    The Dual-Door Group is now available on two- and four-door Jeep Wrangler Sport, Rubicon; Sahara, Rubicon 392, and 4xe models. Factory-option pricing for the U.S.s tarts at $2,350 for the two-door's Dual-Door Group with base-model upper-window assembles while the four-door costs $3,995. Checking the box for the more premium version of the upper-window assemblies moves the price tag up to $2,550 for the two-door and $4,395 for the four-door.

    Warranty coverage for each Dual-Door Group option is included as part of the new-vehicle warranty of three years/36,000 miles.

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    Toyota is mobilizing, putting its money where its mouth is to help Texas affected by severe winter weather.

    Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

    Winter Storm Uri impacted nearly every single one of Texas's 254 counties. North Texas-based Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) has pledged $1 million in relief for those affected by the storm. The aid is slated to serve both Toyota and Lexus customers and a variety of Texas-based non-profit organizations.

    Over 60 Texas counties were part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) recent Texas Severe Winter Storms (DR-4586-TX). It is currently categorized as an active disaster.

    "We take our role as community leaders seriously, so when winter storms affected millions right in our back yard, our top priority became helping Texas get back on its feet after this ordeal," said Sean Suggs, group vice president of Social Innovation, TMNA. "Texans have supported our company in myriad ways, and we want to help our neighbors emerge from this storm stronger than ever."

    The $1 million relief effort includes:

    North Texas/DFW Metroplex

    • United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, in support of North Texas Cares and West Dallas nonprofits to quickly distribute funds to grassroots organizations: $450,000
    • North Texas Food Bank: $100,000
    • The Family Place and Genesis Women's Shelter to fund hotel rooms, food, and transportation for their clients: $30,000
    • Toyota employees will be able to support the needs of four North Texas community partners significantly impacted by the storms by purchasing items from their Amazon Wish Lists.

    San Antonio

    • SAWS Community Pipe Repair Fund, through the San Antonio Area Foundation to assist individuals and families stay in their homes safely with funds for plumbing repairs: $100,000
    • Let's Help SA Fund to provide food, water and shelter: $200,000

    Houston

    • United Way of Greater Houston to support the Greater Houston 2021 Winter Storm Relief Fund that supports local home repairs: $50,000
    • Houston Food Bank: $50,000
    • CrowdSource Rescue to provide food, water and fuel: $20,000

    Additionally, Toyota will match up to $10,000 in individual employee contributions to nonprofit organizations recovering from the storm.

    Toyota and Lexus Financial Services customers who are looking for loan and lease payment relief, and were impacted by the storm, may be able to receive assistance under a new Toyota program that has a variety of options for clients.

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