A first wave of automakers and industry suppliers – led by Toyota Motor Corporation – is adopting Ford SmartDeviceLink software – a huge step toward giving consumers more choice in how they connect and control their smartphone apps on the road.
SmartDeviceLink is the open-source software on which the Ford SYNC® AppLink™ platform is built. It provides consumers an easy way to access their favorite smartphone apps using voice commands. Automotive suppliers QNX Software Systems and UIEvolution also are adopting the technology, with plans to integrate it into their products.
By adopting this Ford technology, automakers and suppliers are helping accelerate an industry standard that will increase the number of apps available for in-vehicle use. With common industry software, developers can focus on creating the best experience on one platform – SmartDeviceLink – which will be available to customers of many brands.
PSA Peugeot Citroën is investigating adding SmartDeviceLink to its vehicles. Automakers Honda, Mazda and Subaru also are considering adding the software.
“Ford is making the software available as open-source, because customers throughout the industry benefit if everybody speaks one language.”
SmartDeviceLink software, including AppLink, is part of Ford Smart Mobility – the plan to take Ford to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.
How an industry standard benefits consumers
SmartDeviceLink-equipped vehicles enable drivers to manage popular smartphone apps using display screens, buttons and/or voice recognition commands. Popular music apps such as Spotify and iHeartRadio, information apps including AccuWeather and MLB, retail apps such as Domino’s, and a growing list of apps from around the world are already available for Ford AppLink users.
Those apps become more readily available in vehicles equipped with SmartDeviceLink because developers have access to higher volumes of vehicles and new capabilities. For automakers and suppliers, SmartDeviceLink adoption broadens the choice for customers in how they connect and control their smartphones while on the move. Adoption also supports increased quality and security of the software as multiple parties can collaborate on improvements.
As part of Ford SYNC, AppLink is available on more than 5 million Ford vehicles globally. The technology is expected to reach 28 million more vehicles by 2020.
Industry-wide adoption of SmartDeviceLink will help the technology spread to new markets, such as China, Taiwan, New Zealand and Thailand.
Later this year, Ford will introduce the next version of AppLink based on SmartDeviceLink software, allowing customers to access their favorite compatible navigation app – much as they do on a smartphone – on in-vehicle touch screens. The upgrade brings smartphone navigation to the car, an important feature for customers worldwide.
Growing the connected car community
By making SmartDeviceLink software available to the open-source community, Ford is providing the industry a way to maintain differentiated, brand-specific entertainment and connectivity systems that deliver on customer expectations for smartphone app integration – regardless of smartphone.
Livio, a wholly owned Ford subsidiary, continues to manage the open-source project by working with SmartDeviceLink adopters to build the appropriate interfaces into each unique vehicle environment.
“Developing a safer and more secure in-car smartphone connectivity service – which better matches individual vehicle features – is exactly the value and advantage an automaker can offer customers,” said Shigeki Terashi, executive vice president, Toyota Motor Corporation. “We expect that many companies share our view and will participate in the industry SmartDeviceLink collaboration.”