Sometimes industry teams are the best way to deal with emerging technologies.
That’s likely the case with a new partnership between Ford Motor Company and Toyota Motor Company to form a “SmartDeviceLink Consortium.” The Consortium will function as a nonprofit organization managing an open source software platform with a laudable goal: to give consumers more choice in how they connect and control their smartphone apps on the road.
To date, Mazda Motor Corporation, PSA Group, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI) and Suzuki Motor Corporation are the first automaker members of the consortium. Elektrobit, Luxoft, and Xevo will join as the first supplier members. Harman, Panasonic, Pioneer, and QNX recently signed Letters of Intent to join the Consortium.
“SmartDeviceLink provides consumers easy access to smartphone apps using voice commands and in-vehicle displays,” reads a media release issued Wednesday. “Adopting the open source platform gives automakers and suppliers a uniform standard with which to integrate apps. Developers benefit because they can focus on creating the best experience for customers by integrating one linking solution for use by all participating automakers.”
Revving up the teamwork promises good things for car owners.
“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, the global director of Ford Connected Vehicle and Services, and a Consortium board member. “Consumers will win with new, innovative app experiences from increased collaboration and developer engagement.”
Shigeki Tomoyama, the president of Toyota’s Connected Company, agrees.
“Connectivity between smartphones and the vehicle interface is one of the most important connected services,” said Tomoyama. “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.”
SmartDeviceLink enables smartphone app developers to seamlessly integrate their app functions with in-vehicle technology such as the vehicle display screen, steering wheel controls, and voice recognition.
“With this new level of integration, drivers enjoy their favorite apps on the road in an enhanced, user-friendly way,” notes the release. “Consumers also benefit because developers and automakers working together will contribute improvements to the open source code – increasing the quality and security of the software.”