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Toyota, Ford Form Organization to Improve Phone to Car Connectivity

January 04, 2017

Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Co. are forming a nonprofit organization that will manage an open source software platform with the goal of providing consumers access to smartphone apps using voice commands and in-vehicle displays.

The SmartDeviceLink (SDL) Consortium open source platform will give automakers and suppliers a uniform standard with which to integrate apps, according to the automakers.

Logo: SDL
Logo: SDL

“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.”

SDL technology is based on Ford’s contribution of its AppLink software to the open source community in 2013. Ford AppLink software is currently available on more than 5 million vehicles globally.

“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 Co.

Some of the first automaker members of the consotrium include Mazda Motor Corp., PSA Group, and Suzuki Motor Corp.

Toyota said it plans to commercialize a telematics system using SDL around 2018.

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