Toyota will have vehicles with this tech ready for 2018.
Ford, Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru), Mazda, PSA Group, Suzuki, and Toyota will form a partnership called the SmartDeviceLink Consortium to manage open-source software for connecting smartphones to infotainment systems. The automakers want to fight the growing strength of Apple CarPlay (above) and Google Android Auto as the default ways for people to mirror their phone's interface in a vehicle.
The auto industry doesn’t like losing control over their products' cabins to these tech giants. The SmartDeviceLink Consortium would use Ford’s AppLink software as a basis for an open-source standard of app development. According to the Blue Oval, the existing code means that there's already existing versions of popular apps like Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and AccuWeather.
According to the consortium’s members, the new standard would increase choice for consumers. Software developers “can focus on creating the best experience for customers by integrating one linking solution for use by all participating automakers,” according to the companies’ statement. Unlike CarPlay and Android Auto, both automakers and the app creators can make improvements to the open source code, too.
Because SmartDeviceLink uses Ford’s existing software, the Blue Oval’s vehicles could take advantage of the tech rather quickly. Toyota indicates in the statement that it plans to have the system in its vehicles around 2018. None of the other automakers outlined when they would implement SmartDeviceLink.
"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 Company, in the announcement.
In addition to having major automakers on board, the suppliers Elektrobit Automotive, Luxoft Holding, and Xevo will also be part of this undertaking. Harman, Panasonic, Pioneer, and QNX have signed Letters of Intent to join in the future, according to the statement announcing the project.