Ford Launches SDK for Future In-Car App Development

American automaker Ford announced today it has started releasing its Software Development Kit (SDK) to app developers so they can enable existing smartphone apps for voice command and control through Ford SYNC. This will help create a safer and smarter in-car connectivity experience.

“More and more drivers will find a way to use their devices and their apps while in the car,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development. “They can do it unsafely, or they can do it through safer voice-activated solutions such as Ford SYNC – keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.”  

Ford has received and is reviewing more than 1,000 submissions from interested parties looking to modify existing apps or create all-new apps that can successfully interface with Ford SYNC through AppLink. AppLink can access mobile apps stored on a user’s smartphone, and allows them to be controlled through the SYNC voice recognition system.

Pandora Internet radio, Stitcher smart radio and Orangatame’s OpenBeak are the first apps to incorporate the SYNC API, with more to follow.

Ford has also outlined guidelines for future in-car app development, which are listed below:

  • Personalized entertainment such as Pandora Internet radio
  • Personalized information and news such as Stitcher smart radio or Orangatame’s OpenBeak
  • Location-based services including navigation, traffic and business searches
  • Notifications and alerts leveraging SYNC’s ability to mash up vehicle information, GPS locations and more, all to provide the driver with customized information and guidance
  • Financial apps that, for example, provide alerts such as stock price drops or overdrafts and, in the future, drive-by payments
  • Scheduling and planning apps that could include notifications of flight status, for instance, in the event flights are delayed or rescheduled

“Our goal is not to have thousands of apps available for the car,”
added Kuzak, “because there are strict limitations on what should be allowed while driving.”
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