Ford, Toyota mull joint approach for app integration

June 05, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Is a car really the ultimate mobile device? The efforts from information technology providers and carmakers alike suggest this might be true. The latest move in this area comes from Ford and Toyota: Both companies have joined forces to fathom out a collaboration targeting the integration of smartphone apps into cars.

The two OEMs currently draw up a scenario that aims at introducing the Open Source Platform “Smart Device Link” (SDL) into Toyota vehicles including Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus. Involved is also Ford subsidiary Livio who developed the SDL technology. “The market for in-car apps is evolving rapidly,” comments Toyota Senior Managing Officer Shigeki Terashi. “For us, the development of stable, flexible, secure and user friendly connectivity plays a major role. SDL is one of the technologies we are believing in.”

SDL supports the integration of smartphone apps into the vehicle’s infotainment and communications systems with focus on simple, intuitive HMI elements including voice control, screen display and dashboard instruments. An advantage of SDI is that smartphone apps only need to be developed for a single platform, doing away with the current platform variety. This helps developers to save time and makes it easier to offer a given app to large user audiences.

The current agreement between Toyota and Ford is based on an earlier decision from 2011 when both companies agreed to jointly develop in-car telematics services.

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