Ford and Toyota partner on SmartDeviceLink consortium to standardise in-car development

(Image Credit: Ford)

A consortium established by Ford and Toyota called SmartDeviceLink hopes to bring various automakers together with OEMs of third-party devices in order to standardise app development for vehicles. 

SmartDeviceLink will enable consumers to access their smartphone apps – regardless of platform – and interact with them using voice and in-vehicle displays. The support of automakers enables SmartDeviceLink to be integrated with areas of the vehicle such as the steering wheel, an example of just one place where Android Auto and CarPlay are restricted. 

Current members include Mazda, PSA Group, Fuji Heavy Industries, and Suzuki. Elektrobit, Luxoft, and Xevo join as the first supplier members, while Harman, Panasonic, Pioneer, and QNX have signed Letters of Intent to join. 

“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.” 

Ford will bring its AppLink platform over to form the basis of SmartDeviceLink after making it open source back in 2013.  Similar to Apple and Google, apps which run on SmartDeviceLink must conform to rigid standards to ensure the safety of driver and passengers. 

"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," said Shigeki Tomoyama, president of Toyota's Connected Company. 

App developers have already begun working alongside Ford to make their apps compatible with SmartDeviceLink, while Toyota has confirmed it will do the same from the start of 2018. 

Do you believe SmartDeviceLink will be successful? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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