Automotive brands unite to develop standard smart device integration by 2018

Article by Christian A., on January 24, 2017

Ford and Toyota have come together in the hopes of standardizing their vehicles’ smartphone integration system. The open-source platform is said to compete with Google Android Auto and Apple CarPlay which will be made under SDL agreement (or SmartDeviceLink Consortium to be exact). Mazda, Subaru, Suzuki and PSA Group have also joined the partnership.

Through this agreement, the automakers wish to create software that will enable them to connect the owner’s smart device to their own infotainment systems. In the meantime, they will be using Ford’s APPLINK software to develop the standardized platform so they can also take advantage of the apps currently in there such as AccuWeather, iHeartRadio, Spotify and Pandora.

APPLINK comes with many other apps and will probably include more ---just like the popular Waze app for navigation. The members strongly believe that this is their answer to Google and Apple integration. All these years, these two tech giants have dominated the scene when it comes to running your infotainment system. Ford’s software on the other hand is currently installed in more than five million vehicles.

Meanwhile, the new platform will also let app developers include several built-in functions into their apps. This will make the voice-activated features, steering wheel control and infotainment screen so much easier to use.

It may take more than a year before we can see all of these come in full bloom. According to a recent press release, Toyota is planning to commercialize its own telemantics system by 2018. By then, it will be under the SmartDeviceLink (SDL) consortium, which is also joined by QNX, Pioneer, Panasonic and Harman just to name a few. Some suppliers also paid their supports including Xevo, Luxoft, Elektrobit.

Doug VanDagens, Director for Ford Connected Vehicle and Services, explained why they have decided to create the SDL consortium. As much as possible, Ford wanted to encourage innovation so that consumers will have more choices. This will also bring them a better experience of using their apps.

As for Toyota, Shigeki Tomoyama said that they are thrilled to collaborate with other car manufacturers and suppliers with the same objective. He also pointed out the importance of connectivity between the car interface and mobile device. With the use of SmartDeviceLink, they can give their customers a safer and more secure service.

All the same, Apple continues to get support from BMW especially with its latest 2017 lineup. Almost all BMW models this year has been integrated with CarPlay. Android Auto is expected to follow soon.

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