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Ford contributes AppLink to open-source GENIVI Alliance

Ford Motor Company will contribute the software for AppLink, the Ford-developed in-car smartphone app interface, to the GENIVI Alliance. Ford becomes the first US automaker to contribute proprietary source code from one of its products to an open-source project.

The AppLink software enables apps from connected smartphones to be controlled using the vehicle interface, including available voice recognition and audio buttons. Along with the announcement of the industry-first open mobile app developer program at the 2013 International CES this past January, Ford announced the intention to take further steps to help developers be successful working with the automotive industry, an emerging growth area for app integration. (Earlier post.)

Ford will establish a new open-source GENIVI project, with a Ford engineer maintaining the project. The project will contain all of the code and documentation required to implement the AppLink software into the vehicle audio system head unit to enable two-way communications with Google Android and Apple iOS devices. All of the code for what will be known as SmartPhoneLink is being released under the well-established BSD open-source license.

Learning from the lessons of the smartphone market, Ford understands that a vibrant app ecosystem is essential to the success of a platform for both users and developers. Great apps will attract customers to the platform, which in turn draws more developers to expand the boundaries of functionality. By open-sourcing the AppLink platform so that automakers and aftermarket infotainment manufacturers can incorporate it, developers will get a larger potential market and more incentive to create apps that can be used on the go, Ford suggests.

The GENIVI (pronounced gen-ee-vee) Alliance is a non-profit industry alliance committed to driving the broad adoption of an In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) open-source development platform.

In addition to Ford’s contribution to SmartPhoneLink, navigation services provider Telenav and embedded software development firm Luxoft have committed to contribute supporting code to the new SmartPhoneLink projects.

Ford has more than 1 million cars, trucks and SUVs on the road in North America equipped with AppLink including Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, Mustang, Escape, F-150, Super Duty and E-Series.

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