Connected VehicleInfotainment

Ford collaborates with Alibaba to bring the next-gen Ford Applink with open-source smartphone-linking tech

Published: January 13, 2015 | Detroit, United States

Ford has announced it is rolling out Ford SYNC AppLink 3.0 next year, giving customers the ability to access their favorite compatible navigation app – much as they do on a smartphone – on in-vehicle touch screens.

This next version of AppLink benefits from the open-source SmartDeviceLink initiative that is driving new feature innovation. As part of that project, Ford is working with Alibaba, a global consumer Internet service, to extend the group’s map, navigation and music services to vehicles. This has led to the integration of SmartDeviceLink into AutoNavi, Alibaba’s app for navigation services, demonstrating how it can be projected onto a vehicle touch screen for seamless use – just like on a smartphone.

The collaboration with Alibaba is also putting more emphasis on development of SmartDeviceLink. Sharing Ford’s vision of a truly open-source smartphone-linking technology, Alibaba will not only integrate SmartDeviceLink into apps, but also become an active contributor driving evolution of the project.

Commitment to SmartDeviceLink
The mission of SmartDeviceLink is to standardize and simplify the development process, and expand availability of in-car apps for consumers with well-known and well-established open-source methodology.

Ford, an active contributor to SmartDeviceLink, continues to make enhancements accessible through Genivi with the intention of expanding partnerships with mobile app developers. This will increase the markets where SmartDeviceLink technology is available and provide developers an easier path to getting their apps into more vehicles. 

Ford already has rolled out its AppLink technology globally, including North America, South America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Three new markets are slated to come on board this year – Taiwan, New Zealand and Thailand.

AppLink is part of the Ford SYNC system. SYNC allows drivers to pair their mobile phones with a vehicle and control the radio, make and receive calls, and operate more features hands-free using voice controls.

By making AppLink software accessible to mobile app developers, Ford is providing a platform to make apps respond to voice commands through SYNC. Even with voice commands, customers should only use their SYNC system when it is safe to do so.

Source: FORD Media Centre

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