SmartDeviceLink is a platform for building in-car apps

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SmartDeviceLink (SDL) provides consumers easy access to smartphone apps using voice commands and in-vehicle displays. It connects in-vehicle infotainment systems to smartphone applications providing app developers with new and exciting ways of connecting with their customers. Apps used to be a smartphone exclusive, then moved to wearables, and now cars.

As an industry-driven initiative, SmartDeviceLink appears to be one of the several initiatives from auto makers who are refusing to let Google and Apple take over their turf. Car makers are seeking to own the platforms that their cars run on while maintaining compatibility with Android OS and iOS.

Ford contributed SmartDeviceLink to the open source community in 2013 and is continuing to lead the effort for adoption and improvement of the standard among other car manufacturers.

build in-car apps with SmartDeviceLink

Last year (2016), Toyota announced adopted SDL and joined forces with Ford. Together, Toyota and Ford have launched the SmartDeviceLink (SDL) Consortium to continue the development of this technology standard.

SDL Pioneer Members

The first members of the SmartDeviceLink (SDL) Consortium are:

  1. Mazda Motor Corporation
  2. PSA Group
  3. Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI)
  4. Suzuki Motor Corporation

Harman, Panasonic, Pioneer and QNX have signed Letters of Intent to join.

Want to build in-car apps?

Open Source Android and iOS libraries are provided to developers with features such as video streaming, voice integration, and real time vehicle data. App developers can already sign up for a developer account on the SDL website.

Smartphone apps may be saturated, but new and more exciting opportunities exist with in-car apps. Let’s keep fingers crossed that initiatives of this sort yield great results.

Ford’s latest infotainment offering, SYNC 3, is powered by SmartDeviceLink. Meanwhile, Toyota says that it has plans to roll out SmartDeviceLink on select Toyota and Lexus vehicles around 2018.

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