Ford Motor Company (News - Alert) claims to have become the first American automaker to open-source the software of a product by contributing the AppLinkcode to the GENIVI Alliance.
The GENIVI Alliance is a not-for-profit industry association, whose mission is to drive the broad adoption of an In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) open source development platform.
Officials with Ford said the AppLink connectivity interface allows drivers to take control of compatible smartphone and tablet apps through dashboard buttons or voice commands.
"Ford wants to see app developers succeed in their work with the auto industry," said Doug VanDagens, global director of connected services at Ford, in a statement.
Contributing the AppLink software to GENIVI demonstrates the company’s commitment to be developer-focused, which supports the drive for consumer-focused innovation.
"GENIVI is pleased to host the SmartPhoneLink project as one of its growing number of public open source projects," said Steve Crumb, executive director, GENIVI Alliance.
Crumb said that Ford's commitment to contributing its AppLink software technology to a broader base of developers fits perfectly with GENIVI's commitment to drive adoption of open source software in the automotive community.
"We looked at a number of different organizations before deciding to establish these open-source projects with GENIVI," said VanDagens.
VanDagens said the firm sought to work with an active organization that already has connections with the automotive ecosystem, including both automakers and suppliers.
Working with GENIVI also demonstrates that the resulting SmartPhoneLink platform will be operating system agnostic, so that manufacturers can implement it with any embedded operating system they choose, whether it’s Linux, QNX or Microsoft (News - Alert) Windows Embedded.
Company officials explained that Ford will establish a new open-source GENIVI project, and a Ford engineer will be maintaining the project. The campaign will contain all of the code and documentation required to implement the AppLink software into the vehicle audio system head unit, to enable two-way communications with Google Android (News - Alert) and Apple iOS devices.
All of the code for what will be known as SmartPhoneLink is being released under the well-established BSD open-source license.
Besides Ford, navigation services provider, Telenav, and embedded software development firm, Luxoft, have committed to contributing supporting code to the new SmartPhoneLink projects.
Edited by Braden Becker