Ford and Toyota have formed a four-automaker consortium to speed up the deployment of open source software for connected in-car systems, according to a report by Bloomberg on Wednesday.

The SmartDeviceLink Consortium, which includes Mazda, PSA Group, Fuji, and Suzuki, aims to prevent Apple and Google from controlling how drivers connect smartphones to their vehicles. Suppliers Elektrobit, Harma, Luxoft, QNX, and Xevo have also joined the organization, which is named after an open source version of Ford's AppLink connectivity interface, a system used in over 5 million vehicles globally.

CarPlay-Ford'
The non-profit group's goal is to promote more choice in how drivers connect to in-car technologies like dashboard displays, steering wheel controls and voice recognition systems. By using an open source platform, the automakers hope to set a standard by which they and their suppliers can integrate smartphones with vehicles, and thereby attract developers who can then integrate the universal linking technology into their software.

Toyota has so far resisted including Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto in its vehicles, arguing that doing so would diminish safety and security standards. Ford offers them on all its 2017 model vehicles, but remains supportive of an open-source software platform that all app developers can use as an alternative to Carplay and Android Auto.

The open source project will be managed by Livio, a software startup Ford acquired in 2013. Livio will work with early adopters to build the interfaces and infotainment systems for each vehicle environment.

Apple's own system, CarPlay, brings Maps, Phone, Messages, Music, Podcasts, and a number of third-party apps, such as Spotify, to a vehicle's dashboard. Apple announced CarPlay with several big-name partners already on board, like BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, and more.

Due to Apple's commitment to user privacy, CarPlay collects very little data from users and car manufacturers. According to information released by Porsche, Apple only collects information on whether a car is accelerating while CarPlay is in use. This is in stark contrast to Android Auto, which collects a lot more car data when in use.

Related Roundup: CarPlay

Top Rated Comments

kd5jos Avatar
60 months ago
This is what happens when companies that don't understand a technology decide to use the technology they don't understand.

First we have problems with security (my Jeep Renegade is an example). Second we have problems with accessibility. This consortium is an example. They think that what I want when buying a car is another device to take care of, that exists outside the ecosystem of the devices I have.

They operate under the idea that, "choice is always better." Well, choice is good. If I can choose to use my iPhone with their system, okay, great, no complaints.

The problem I have is when the OS is "Open Source" meaning anyone can develop for it instead of any device can connect through it. I don't WANT to use Spotify, I already have a music app and don't want to spend money on another damn subscription. I don't WANT to use another GPS app, I already know how to use mine...

The apps I have are the same across my iPhone, iPad, and Mac. That's great you want to build an Open Source OS, but I don't NEED an Open Source OS, I NEED CarPlay.

Toyota's assertion that they don't use CarPlay because safety, is asinine. "We aren't going to give you the ability to use your device without having to look at it because it's more safe that way..."

Before anyone goes "fanboi" on me.... The same can be said of Android and Windows.

I don't WANT to deal with ANOTHER OS. This is why I work in a single ecosystem. Give me complete access to my single ecosystem. Period.

Demanding consumers buy the best in class for each item they purchase is the way things worked ten years ago. I buy the devices that get the job done inside the ecosystem I use. I've bought a system, not a group of devices I figure out how to kludge together into a system.

For now, I'm with Apple. The quality has dropped as of late, and the only thing preventing me from being an Android user is that I don't want my data to be a commodity. If I thought I could trust google with my data, I may jump ship. Windows? Their still in the "Win95" of the mobile market. That and they are the targets of most exploits.

Welcome to 2017. It's about "system" now, not just device.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rdlink Avatar
60 months ago
This is complete and total BS. This is the doublespeak for the crap that the automakers have been foisting on us for years. Disjointed and poorly conceived interfaces that are confusing and frustrating. Ford is the worst of the bunch.

No CarPlay? No sale.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Andres Cantu Avatar
60 months ago
I guess they will have to learn the hard way, you can't compete with Apple and Google in tech.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bnekic Avatar
60 months ago
If an automaker doesn't offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto you're out of the game.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dotnet Avatar
60 months ago
Toyota has so far resisted including Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto in its vehicles
...and has thus lost my business, after 20 years of patronage.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
emm386 Avatar
60 months ago
I would really appreciate an open-source communication interface here! Choice and common industry standards have so far always made my life in IT a lot easier!

Though Apple (and Google - just to be fair) would probably go thermonuclear war on this approach...

But one can dream!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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