Ford’s SmartDeviceLink being studied by Toyota for future integration into vehicles

Article by Andrew Christian, on June 8, 2015

Talks are ongoing over the possibility of a collaboration between Toyota Motor Corp. and Ford Motor Co. as they hope to maintain control of their dashboards while Apple Inc. and Google Inc. are introducing technologies that target the auto industry. From e-mailed statements, we learned that Toyota may work with Ford on integrating smartphone applications into upcoming vehicles.

The automaker said that its SmartDeviceLink technology permits companies like Pandora Inc. to develop apps only once for use in numerous infotainment systems, while also permitting automakers to control their dashboards’ design.

With a collaboration, Ford and Toyota are making efforts to prevent Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto from dictating what the future of in-car entertainment and navigation systems would be.

The dashboards are critical for automakers as they compete with each other to reel in younger buyers who are looking for connectivity features. IHS Automotive analyst Mark Boyadjis said that automakers have “put a lot of blood, sweat and tears” as well as spent much on r&d to develop their own systems, so they will find it difficult to see Google and Apple come in and take over.

He explained that auto companies will now have to be “very shrewd” with how software like CarPlay and Android Auto are integrated. IHS predicts that by 2020, automakers may sell about 31 million vehicles with CarPlay and 37 million with Android Auto.

He also said that at this rate, the systems may be put in vehicles as fast as Bluetooth and auxiliary-cord inputs have in the past decade. Toyota and Ford are listed by Apple as two of their partners that will have CarPlay on their models.

However, Toyota isn’t included as one of those that will have Google’s Android Auto. Hyundai announced last week that its 2015 Sonata sedan will be the first model in the U.S. from any automaker to come with Android Auto.

In addition, General Motors said that its redesigned Cruze compact will be the first of most 2016 Chevrolets to be available with both Android Auto and CarPlay.

“Dashboard interface design and smartphone connectivity are key elements for product differentiation within the industry,” said Don Butler, executive director, Ford Connected Vehicle and Services. “At Ford, we view all aspects of time behind the wheel as core to the experience we provide customers. We’re pleased other members of the industry feel the same way, and look forward to working together to drive even more support for the SDL developer community.”

Topics: ford, toyota

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