While the rest of the automotive circle is adopting either Apple’s CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto telematics platform into its products, Toyota and Ford are stubbornly refusing to do so. Such is the extent of the rebellion that both companies have agreed to collaborate on a new system based on Ford’s SmartDevicelink (SDL) platform – an open-sourced version of Ford’s AppLink.

The SDL platform is handled by Livio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ford. As mentioned earlier, being an open-sourced variant of AppLink, SDL facilitates various smartphone applications for employment in in-car infotainment systems. Said platform also offers app developers to practicality of having to design an app only once and then have it employed seamlessly into multiple infotainment systems.


In fact, said tie-up was reportedly mooted as far back as August 2011 when both companies agreed to develop the next-gen infotainment system. “Developing robust, flexible, safe and user-friendly connected services is a priority for us, and one that we believe is shared by Ford, Livio and other contributors to SDL technology,” said Shigeki Terashi, senior managing officer, Toyota Motor Corporation.

Other strengths of the SDL platform include a wide level of customisation on its layout, allowing different brands to impart a trace of its identity on the system. Furthermore, SDL features a broad spectrum of platform compatibility and a clearer prompt for permission to obtain personal information and vehicle data. Finally, a plethora of apps are available as opposed to a handful on CarPlay and Android Auto.