Toyota Adopts Ford SmartDeviceLink Software For Cars at CES 2016

SmartDeviceLink is the open-source software on which the Ford SYNC AppLink platform is built.

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Ford goes big with SmartDeviceLink at CES 2016. (Photo: Ford)

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 with an easy way to access their favourite smartphone apps using voice commands. Automotive suppliers QNX Software Systems and UIEvolution are also adopting the technology, with plans to integrate it into their products.

Ford SmartDeviceLink might become the new industry standard for apps inside cars. (Photo: Ford)
Ford SmartDeviceLink might become the new industry standard for apps inside cars. (Photo: Ford)

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 the possibility of adding SmartDeviceLink to its vehicles. Automakers Honda, Mazda and Subaru also are considering adding the software.

The true benefit of a common smartphone app communications interface is that it creates an industry standard – enabling great experiences for customers while allowing different companies the freedom to differentiate their individual brands. Ford is making the software available as open-source because customers throughout the industry benefit if everybody speaks one language.

Don Butler, Ford executive director, Connected Vehicle and Services

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.

Snapshot
  • Toyota Motor Corporation is adopting SmartDeviceLink, Ford’s open-source smartphone app interface software; automotive suppliers QNX Software Systems and UIEvolution also are adopting the technology, with plans to integrate it into their products.
  • Automakers PSA Peugeot Citroën, Honda, Subaru and Mazda are also investigating the software standard.
  • Like Ford SYNC AppLink on Ford vehicles, SmartDeviceLink on non-Ford vehicles allows Spotify, Glympse, iHeartRadio and other smartphone apps to be easily accessed by drivers using voice recognition and dashboard controls.

How an Industry Standard Benefits Consumers

Apple CarPlay inside a Ford Mustang. (Photo: Ford)
Apple CarPlay inside a Ford Mustang. (Photo: Ford)

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 more 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.

Growing the Connected Car Community

By making SmartDeviceLink software available to the open-source community, Ford is providing the industry with a way to maintain differentiated, brand-specific entertainment and connectivity systems that deliver on customer expectations for smartphone app integration – regardless of the type of smartphone.

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. We expect that many companies share our view and will participate in the industry SmartDeviceLink collaboration.

Shigeki Terashi, Executive Vice President, Toyota Motor Corporation

Ottawa, Canada-based QNX Software Systems, a BlackBerry subsidiary, offers a comprehensive portfolio of infotainment, telematics, safety and acoustics solutions deployed in more than 60 million vehicles worldwide.

More than 40 automotive manufacturers use QNX Software Systems, including Ford, which employs the operating system for SYNC 3. QNX plans to integrate SmartDeviceLink into its QNX CAR platform for infotainment, which supports a wide variety of OEM systems. This could help to rapidly migrate the interface to millions of vehicles around the world.

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