Partnerships / Acquisitions

Ford, Toyota Team Up Against Google, Apple

SmartDeviceLink Consortium

Two of the biggest names in automobiles may be taking on two of the biggest names in tech.

Carmakers Ford and Toyota have led the formation of a consortium, which includes Mazda, PSA, Fuji and Suzuki, to fast track the development of standards for in-vehicle apps across the auto industry.

The move, Bloomberg reported, is being made in hopes of slowing down tech giants such as Google and Apple from controlling the ways in which drivers connect their smartphones to increasingly smart vehicles.

The SmartDeviceLink Consortium is a nonprofit organization that will aim to promote more choice in how smartphones can connect to in-vehicle technologies. The group is working to manage an open source software platform that will provide consumers with more control over their smartphone apps on the road, outside of Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto.

“Encouraging innovation is at the center of Ford’s decision to create SmartDeviceLink, and this consortium is a major step toward that goal,” Doug VanDagens, global director of Ford Connected Vehicle and Services, explained in a press release. VanDagens also serves as a board member of the consortium and added that “consumers will win with new, innovative app experiences from increased collaboration and developer engagement.”

SmartDeviceLink enables smartphone app developers to integrate app functionality with in-vehicle technology, including the vehicle display screen, steering wheel controls and voice recognition, the statement continued.

“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,” Shigeki Tomoyama, president of Toyota’s Connected Company, noted.

It’s expected that with industry-wide adoption of SmartDeviceLink, app developers will be provided with an opportunity for their innovations to be integrated with millions of vehicles worldwide.

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