Need to Know
- Ford and Amazon are partnering to improve the automaker’s in-vehicle software ecosystem, now offering automated software updates and outfitting new vehicles with Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa.
- The software update marks the biggest cohesive update Ford has released and will affect dozens of vehicle makes and models.
- Ford will use AI technology to monitor customer behavior and improve its services.
- By 2028, 33 million Ford vehicles should be equipped with the new technology.
Ford Motor Company has announced that, in partnership with Amazon, the automaker will be outfitting its new vehicles with an improved in-vehicle software ecosystem that allows for wireless software updates and new features, including Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa.
The update, dubbed Power-Up, will roll out first for F-150 and Mustang Mach-E vehicles.
“Software updates are common across billions of connected devices but not yet for vehicles. Ford Power-Up software updates will change that by quickly bringing it to millions of people,” says Alex Purdy, director of business operations and enterprise connectivity at Ford. “We’ve invested in more seamless technology so updates can happen while you’re sleeping — making your next ride a better experience.”
With the help of voice assistant Alexa, “drivers will be able to use voice control to start or stop their engine, lock or unlock doors, defrost their windows, make a call or play music.” Plus, if the driver already uses an Alexa smart home device, they can connect the two devices.
The new software update system will also allow Ford to collect data and make improvements based on customer needs and preferences.
“We can double down on the features people love, get rid of the ones people don’t,” Purdy said.
The popular carmaker will work with Amazon “to deliver enhanced features and new services over the next six years, including exploring the development of the first custom Alexa skills for Ford commercial vehicles, using Alexa artificial intelligence to help business owners and fleet managers stay in touch with their teams in the field.”
“We’re excited to work with Amazon to bring powerful new AI-enabled experiences to Ford customers,” says Purdy. “We believe in the power of teaming up with other innovators. Bringing Ford’s vehicle know-how together with Amazon’s technology expertise will deliver in-vehicle capabilities that help our retail customers travel more enjoyably and with ease, while helping our commercial customers operate more profitably.”
Ford plans to manufacture 33 million vehicles equipped with this service and Alexa by 2028. Customers will also get complimentary access to Alexa for three years.
Interestingly, Ford also recently signed a six-year deal earlier this year with Google, focusing on both in-vehicle offerings like Google Maps and in-office technology, including its cloud service Google Drive. Though Google and Amazon have become competitors (especially in the cloud computing space), it seems Ford wants to include both as pillars of their continued technology rollout.