Ford, Toyota Lead Auto Industry Consortium to Slow CarPlay Adoption

1 minute read
| News

Traditional automakers may not have to compete with an Apple-manufactured car any time soon, but that’s not stopping them from ensuring that tech firms such as Apple and Google fail to reach dominance in the in-car entertainment market. According to a Bloomberg report Wednesday, Ford and Toyota have teamed up with a handful of smaller automakers to create auto industry standards for in-vehicle apps and services before Apple or Google gain too much traction.

car navigation system

SmartDeviceLink

The partnership between Ford and Toyota isn’t new; the two companies have been working together on in-car information and entertainment initiatives, a platform called “SmartDeviceLink,” since 2011. That effort has translated thus far into a functional, if not elegant, platform supporting popular apps such as Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and AccuWeather on more than 5 million vehicles worldwide.

With the growing adoption of Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, however, Ford and Toyota have recently sought to expand their consortium in order to speed up development of what they aim to be an open source platform. In response, Mazda, PSA Group (Peugeot), Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru), and Suzuki Motor Corp., as well as a group of auto manufacturing suppliers, have all joined while others, such as Honda, are rumored to be considering it.

Control and Access

The automakers publicly cite safety as their primary reason for being wary of handing over the in-car experience to Apple or Google. Without a direct hand in the features and capabilities of systems like CarPlay, they argue, they can’t be sure that the experiences won’t be dangerously distracting to drivers and vehicle occupants. The automakers are also concerned about allowing these systems to access vehicle data.

More realistically, the automakers are also concerned about losing control over their own vehicles, especially with self-driving technologies fast approaching, making in-car information and entertainment more important than ever. The availability of CarPlay and Android Auto is still relatively limited, allowing the automakers a brief window to present a more appealing (from the manufacturers’ perspective) open source alternative. This doesn’t necessarily mean that systems like CarPlay will be abandoned by automakers, but the hope is to create a compelling manufacturer-driven system that can either win over drivers on the merits or force companies like Apple to adopt the underlying platform for compliance.

6 Comments Add a comment

  1. geoduck

    What a horrible thing. That’s it, I just won’t ever buy a car from Ford or Toyota.
    (looks out the window at the two Prius’s sitting in the driveway)
    Well, crap.

  2. Scott B in DC

    One vehicle has a 3.5mm jack input and the other car only has an AM radio. What more do I need?? (Now get off my lawn! 🙂

  3. marcsten

    Don’t really care what standards or controls the automakers assert, so long as it is NOT the Microsoft S(t)ync system Ford put in my current car. Awful system.

  4. d'monder

    One vehicle has a 3.5mm jack input

    At least that jack worked with whatever you plugged into it. 🙂

    IMO the worst possible scenario is a Babel of every manufacturer using their own proprietary infotainment system, all half-baked and poorly supported, with no clear market leader. Every vehicle you hop in is likely to have something different. And sadly that appears to be exactly what’s happening.

  5. CudaBoy

    FCA Fiat-Chrysler is jumping ship from QNX to Android for their vaunted UConnect car system.
    Both Ford and Toyota are behind the curve of electric and definitely autonomous car tech – they have nothing for the Tesla on the drawing boards and none of the 12 Ford announced are close to TODAY’S Tesla’s in well, everything including autonomous. Poor Toyota and Honda bet on Hydrogen and that just ain’t happening..apparently. Just as Disney’s chairman realized at the Parade lo those years ago that 8 out of 10 characters were Pixar and thus they had BETTER buy Pixar or else, so should Apple realize as the VR, AI and IOT “parade” flourishes how long can they remain on the sidelines and not get in the game? Car Play? Apple really can’t finger out anything related to cars apparently.

  6. Lee Dronick

    “Don’t really care what standards or controls the automakers assert, so long as it is NOT the Microsoft S(t)ync system Ford put in my current car. Awful system.”

    I have it our Ford Focus. Half of it is pretty good, but the other half is very MicroSoft. My wife and I have our iPhones synched to it, with hers being the primary one. If we are both in the car, but I want to cennect to mine you run through several hoops; Click on the Phone icon, choose connect phone, click on Lee’s, click on Connect. It should be choose connect phone, click on Lee’s.

    They finally got Siri by clicking and hold on the steering wheel phone button.

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