Ford, Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru), Mazda, PSA Group, Suzuki, and Toyota will form a partnership called the SmartDeviceLink Consortium to manage open-source software for connecting smartphones to infotainment systems. The automakers want to fight the growing strength of Apple CarPlay (above) and Google Android Auto as the default ways for people to mirror their phone's interface in a vehicle.
The auto industry doesn’t like losing control over their products' cabins to these tech giants. The SmartDeviceLink Consortium would use Ford’s AppLink software as a basis for an open-source standard of app development. According to the Blue Oval, the existing code means that there's already existing versions of popular apps like Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and AccuWeather.
According to the consortium’s members, the new standard would increase choice for consumers. Software developers “can focus on creating the best experience for customers by integrating one linking solution for use by all participating automakers,” according to the companies’ statement. Unlike CarPlay and Android Auto, both automakers and the app creators can make improvements to the open source code, too.
Because SmartDeviceLink uses Ford’s existing software, the Blue Oval’s vehicles could take advantage of the tech rather quickly. Toyota indicates in the statement that it plans to have the system in its vehicles around 2018. None of the other automakers outlined when they would implement SmartDeviceLink.
"Using SmartDeviceLink, we can provide this service to our customers in a safe and secure manner. We are excited to collaborate with many auto manufacturers and suppliers who share our view," said Shigeki Tomoyama, president of Toyota’s Connected Company, in the announcement.
In addition to having major automakers on board, the suppliers Elektrobit Automotive, Luxoft Holding, and Xevo will also be part of this undertaking. Harman, Panasonic, Pioneer, and QNX have signed Letters of Intent to join in the future, according to the statement announcing the project.
Gallery: Apple CarPlay is an iOS for Future Volvos
Ford and Toyota Establish SmartDeviceLink Consortium to Accelerate Industry-Driven Standard for In-Vehicle Apps
Ford and Toyota are establishing SmartDeviceLink Consortium, a nonprofit to manage open source software for smartphone app development for vehicles
Members include automakers Mazda Motor Corporation, PSA Group, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI) and Suzuki Motor Corporation, as well as suppliers Elektrobit, Luxoft, and Xevo
Consortium focused on significantly increasing choice for consumers in how they connect and control their smartphone apps on the road
January 04, 2017
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 4, 2017 -- Ford Motor Company and Toyota Motor Company are forming SmartDeviceLink Consortium, a nonprofit organization working to manage an open source software platform with the goal of giving consumers more choice in how they connect and control their smartphone apps on the road.
Mazda Motor Corporation, PSA Group, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI) and Suzuki Motor Corporation are the first automaker members of the consortium. Elektrobit, Luxoft, and Xevo join as the first supplier members. Harman, Panasonic, Pioneer and QNX have signed Letters of Intent to join.
SmartDeviceLink provides consumers easy access to smartphone apps using voice commands and in-vehicle displays. Adopting the open source platform gives automakers and suppliers a uniform standard with which to integrate apps. Developers benefit because they can focus on creating the best experience for customers by integrating one linking solution for use by all participating automakers.
“Encouraging innovation is at the center of Ford’s decision to create SmartDeviceLink, and this consortium is a major step toward that goal,” said Doug VanDagens, global director, Ford Connected Vehicle and Services, and a board member of the consortium. “Consumers will win with new, innovative app experiences from increased collaboration and developer engagement.”
Shigeki Tomoyama, president of Toyota’s Connected Company said, “Connectivity between smartphones and the vehicle interface is one of the most important connected services. Using SmartDeviceLink, we can provide this service to our customers in a safe and secure manner. We are excited to collaborate with many auto manufacturers and suppliers who share our view.”
SmartDeviceLink enables smartphone app developers to seamlessly integrate their app functions with in-vehicle technology such as the vehicle display screen, steering wheel controls and voice recognition. With this new level of integration, drivers enjoy their favorite apps on the road in an enhanced, user-friendly way.
Consumers also benefit because developers and automakers working together will contribute improvements to the open source code – increasing the quality and security of the software.
Industry-wide adoption of SmartDeviceLink is expected to give app developers broad scale as their innovations could be applied to millions of vehicles worldwide.
Participating companies and suppliers will be able to deliver user experiences that meet their individual standards while retaining control over how much access apps have to vehicle data.
SmartDeviceLink technology is based on Ford’s contribution of its AppLink™ software to the open source community in 2013. Ford AppLink software is currently available on more than 5 million vehicles globally.
Toyota plans to commercialize a telematics system using SDL around 2018.
Popular apps such as Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, AccuWeather and others are already available to Ford AppLink users.
Livio will manage the open source project and provide guidance to the SmartDeviceLink Consortium and its members. Visit SDL for more information or to apply to the consortium.