With Apple and Google threatening to take over the in-car infotainment systems through their recently introduced CarPlay and Android Auto, automakers are also concerned about their own efforts in the same direction.
Showing how the automotive industry is nearer to the asserted consolidation than Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne wants to let known, Ford – the second largest US automaker – and Toyota, the world’s biggest carmaker, have joined forces in a bid to develop an open-source version of Ford’s AppLink smartphone technology system. The concept its similar to the Apple and Google systems, with AppLink a crucial feature in the completely new Sync 3 infotainment system Ford is delivering in 2016 models over the summer. The version devised in collaboration with the Japanese giant would be used by the latter to update or even completely replace its Entune infotainment technology. Ford and Toyota are already partners in the research of hydrogen fuel cells, with such partnerships and tie-ups increasingly common as development spending of increasingly costly and complex systems has gone through the roof.
The connected car sector is rapidly expanding to become a hot business topic for both automakers, suppliers and outsiders – with consumers increasingly asking for seamless driving integration of the smartphone’s main functions, from navigation and telephony to application access. Ford is also going with the trend, saying that after it expands its new AppLink with Sync 3 to the entire North American lineup, by the end of next year it would also have integration with the by then ubiquitous CarPlay and Android Auto.