Ford executive wants more smartphone apps to work in cars image

Automakers and tech companies are at a tipping point in making smartphones work safely inside a vehicle, according to a top Ford executive.

Jim Farley, Ford’s head of marketing and Lincoln said during his keynote speech at the Connected Car Conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show that there is still a large gap between what customers expect from a car and what it could be in their lives.

Ford has worked with Google and Microsoft for years, but tech companies often set software standards that are not always integrated safely into a vehicle, Farley said. The goal is to enable the customer to use their phones and the embedded vehicle controls seamlessly. To get there, “both the car companies and tech companies have to change,” Farley said.

Maps on smartphones are very accurate but they have to be available in a manner that is safe to use in a car. Phones aren’t always connected and batteries can go dead, Farley said. To be competitive, Ford has to offer customers certain apps in their cars, Farley said. The disconnect comes because app developers often see the car as just another screen.