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CES

Ford, Toyota herald new members on board with Apple CarPlay-opposing industry group

Auto manufacturers Ford and Toyota are welcoming new members to its SmartDeviceLink Consortium, in an effort to stop Apple's CarPlay and Google Auto from gaining any more traction in the market.




In a joint announcement, Ford and Toyota announced that Fuji Heavy Industries, Mazda Motor Group, Suzuki Motors, and the PSA Group have joined the SmartDeviceLink Consortium. In addition, telecommunications company Elektrobit Automotive, software developer Luxoft Holding, and scooter manufacturer Xevo have all signed on as well.

The PSA Group manufacturers Peugot, Citroen, and DS automobiles, and is the second largest car manufacturer in Europe. Fuji Heavy Industries produces the Subaru line of automobiles.

The group, and related protocol, isn't new. Ford and Toyota first agreed to collaborate in 2011 on the protocol, fearing the intrusion of smartphone technologies into the car.

SmartDeviceLink is an open platform based on the AppLink framework developed for Ford's own vehicles. It fills essentially the same role as CarPlay or Android Auto, but allows the vehicle manufacturer to retain control over the look and feel of the user interface.

SmartDeviceLink consists of two main components. The in-car aspect contains most of the user interface with a dashboard LCD and most communication protocols with the car's electronics, with the mobile proxy connecting to a smartphone.

The SmartDeviceLink model is somewhat different than CarPlay, with the vehicle providing most of the data and connectivity, and the user's phone being more of a terminal. Apple's CarPlay is the other way around, with the user's iPhone doing more of the work involving user communication and services.

Ford has continued to push SmartDeviceLink as an industry standard even while it includes CarPlay and Google's rival Android Auto in recent vehicles. Major automotive software supplier QNX has previously announced support for SmartDeviceLink.

Toyota announced during the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show that it would not be offering CarPlay-equipped vehicles.