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Frequently Asked Questions

What is SmartDeviceLink

SmartDeviceLink (SDL) connects in-vehicle infotainment systems to smartphone applications. SDL allows automakers to provide highly integrated connected experiences and offers app developers new and exciting ways to connect with consumers. For more information see the About SDL: Overview page.

What vehicles have SmartDeviceLink?

Any of Ford Motor Company's vehicles equipped with AppLink are capable of using SDL applications. Additional OEMs plan to release vehicles that are SDL enabled in the near future. For a full list of SmartDeviceLink Consortium Members visit our Consortium Member Page.

AppLink is Ford Motor Company's connectivity solution which is built on SDL's open source code base.

What is the SmartDeviceLink Consortium?

The SmartDeviceLink Consortium (SDLC) is an open source community for the advancement of SmartDeviceLink. SDLC membership is open to OEMs, Suppliers, and App Developers who are integrating with SDL or have plans to integrate with SDL in the future. The SDLC meets regularly to discuss the evolution of SDL and enhancements to the SDL ecosystem.

What applications are SDL compatible?

The SDLC is in the process of creating an SDL Application Catalog. Once the SDL Application Catalog is complete, it will be shared on the SmartDeviceLink Developer Portal. Some apps that are currently in production are Waze Navigation, Ford + Alexa, Lincoln + Alexa, Livio Music, AccuWeather, Glympse, Allergy Alert, iHeartRadio, among others.

Who is Livio?

Livio is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company and is the project maintainer of SmartDeviceLink. Livio began as a consumer electronics startup out of the Metro Detroit area in 2008 and later pivoted into mobile software and web technologies. As an emerging leader in automotive connectivity, Livio was acquired by Ford in 2013.

How are Ford Motor Company and Toyota Motor Corporation involved with SDL?

  • Ford contributed AppLink to the open source during CES 2013 and branded it SmartDeviceLink (SDL)
  • Ford acquired Livio in late 2013 to maintain the SDL project.
  • Ford and Toyota founded the SmartDeviceLink Consortium (SDLC) in 2016.
  • Ford and Toyota are Diamond Members of the SDLC and both have representatives who sit on the SDLC Board of Directors.

How does SmartDeviceLink (SDL) differ from Google Android Auto and Apple CarPlay?

  • SDL allows the OEMs to maintain full control of the HMI rather than giving the user experience control to Apple or Google.
  • With SDL, OEM's have the flexibility to use different screen sizes for their In-Vehicle-infotainment systems as well as a wide array of input methods, for example, physical buttons, touch screens, and steering wheel control.
  • With SDL, the OEMs can grant vehicle data access directly with the users' consent to the app developers instead of giving the data access to Apple and Google.
  • SDL allows apps to have deeper and more feature rich integrations into the vehicle that are not limited to just the head unit screen. Content can be sent into the vehicle's cluster or rear seat entertainment, for example.
  • SDL enables an OEM relationship directly with app developers, which removes Apple and Google as gatekeepers to what applications can work in a vehicle.
  • SDL allows for remote control, so applications can control safe modules in the vehicle.
  • SDL policies allow the OEMs to control which apps are present in their vehicles and how they behave.
  • SDL does not require any changes to the phone's operating system.
  • SDL works directly with app developers.
  • SDL is not a mirroring technology, but rather a command and control protocol.
  • SDL does allow projection of applications to the head unit, however that is determined by the OEMs.