Ford and Toyota establish SmartDeviceLink Consortium to accelerate industry-driven standard for in-vehicle apps
Ford Motor Company and Toyota Motor Company are forming SmartDeviceLink Consortium (SDL), 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 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. Consumers will win with new, innovative app experiences from increased collaboration and developer engagement.—Doug VanDagens, global director, Ford Connected Vehicle and Services, and a board member of the consortium
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.
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.—Shigeki Tomoyama, president of Toyota’s Connected Company
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.
The partners expect industry-wide adoption of SmartDeviceLink 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. (Earlier post.) 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 (acquired by Ford in 2013) 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.