Ford Developer Blog

FordDev and Capitol Records Challenge Developers to Move Music Forward

Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 by Ford Dev Team

The historic Capitol Records building in sunny Hollywood, California, hosted the final event in the 2019 Make It Driveable series

FordDev and the SDLC partnered with a number of progressive companies, all providing APIs for the competitors in the 2nd annual Capitol 360 Music Fest and Tech Expo, held November 16-17, 2019.

Connected Travel, a leader in the burgeoning in-vehicle and voice commerce industry, provided resources and tools that enabled additional APIs from Ticketmaster, Shopify, and our friends at iHeartRadio.

Arrive (formerly ParkWhiz) contributed last-mile and parking capabilities, with Dan Cummings, VP of Platform Solutions and Strategy also participating on a couple of panels over the two-day event.

Hackers accessed the APIs and worked their magic in the overnight competition. FordDev and SDL Project Maintainer Livio provided around the clock support, with over a dozen teams ultimately competing in the Music That Moves You Challenge.

In addition to the hackathon challenge, FordDev and the SDLC also showed off the SDL capabilities for all event attendees in a cherry red Mustang convertible—perfect for the 80+ degree days we enjoyed all weekend. We also brought a decked-out Navigator for our music friends who wanted to listen in style (and possibly while receiving a massage).

SDL was also front and center on panels that covered a number of topics and included extremely inciteful messages from the music, tech, and automotive industries. Thank you to all of our panelists who contributed to making these such informative discussions.

We were very happy to see so many of the competitors interested in the future of music in—and connected to—the vehicle!

Congratulations to the top 3 submissions. We look forward to seeing them complete their development projects and join others as SDL apps in our vehicles.

Congrats as well to all of our competitors… What an incredible event!

Grand Prize Winner - Stardust

$12,000 Cash + 20 Hours of Remote SDL Support


Radio today can sometimes feel like it’s just the same songs over and over, with irrelevant chatter from on-air personalities.

But with Stardust, you can say goodbye to radio hosts that won't stop talking about themselves, and start listening to perfectly curated music… All while booking concert tickets, finding new artists, and learning about music history.

The best part? Stardust is activated through your voice.

What it does

Stardust has multiple layers. At its most basic, it’s a music service, similar to Spotify or Pandora, that uses machine learning to play new songs you might be interested in.

With Ford's Audio Passthrough technology, IBM Watson listens to your reaction after the song and uses sentiment analysis in the music curation algorithm to generate new content from the UMG song database. (To establish a baseline, you simply input your current mood and favorite genre at the beginning of your trip.)

Additionally, Stardust’s algorithm tracks your current location and plays songs from artists native to cities near you.

The app also incorporates several other APIs to make the discovery and convenience components as smooth as possible. You can book tickets for concerts (Ticketmaster API,) and even parking (Arrive API)—just by speaking to your car!

Stardust can also determine where you’re driving (SDL) and search for events there that you might be interested in attending.

Second Place - Carseat Singer

$2,000 Cash + Tickets to Show of Choice at iHeartRadio Theater in L.A.


Carseat Singer was inspired by the idea that everyone likes to sing—especially when they’re alone in the car and there’s no-one there to judge.

What it does

With Carseat Singer, you get to sing in your car. If you're doing well, the artists vocal volume is 'ducked' out, if you're not hitting the notes like you’d hoped, the artists vocals are brought back into the mix to give you new confidence.

And with hands-free control, you can start the track over, switch tracks, or even collect your “score” to find out how well you sang.

Third Place - Equal IQ

$1,000 Cash + Tech Package Including iPod Air 2 and Amazon Echo Dot for Each Team Member


Equal IQ aims to enhance the listener's experience while driving. As musicians and car enthusiasts, the app developers felt strongly that the car is one of the truest ways to experience music—so they wanted to help drivers experience music the way it was made in the studio.

What it does

Equal IQ enhances audio to adjust to the ever-changing conditions that go hand-in-hand with driving.











SDL & FordDev are partnering up for the Music That Moves YOU Challenge at the 2019 Capitol Royale Hack. Join us!

Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2019 by Ford Dev Team

Make It Driveable in Hollywood and win BIG!

How can today’s technology evolve the music experience in the car from discovering new artists and music, to purchasing concert tickets and merchandise, to immersive lifestyle experiences that deliver just-in-time content, personalized offers, and can connect fans with all aspects of their favorite artists?

  • Grand Prize: $12,000 PLUS 20-hours of remote support for continued integration of the winning app.
  • 2nd Place: $2,000 PLUS up to 5 Pairs of Tickets to a show of the winner’s choosing at the iHeartRadio Theater in LA. Recent performers include Elton John, Bastille, the Chainsmokers, Trisha Ye arwood, Lizzo and Tyga.
  • 3rd Place: $1,000 PLUS 5 iPad Air 2’s and 5 Amazon Echo Dot’s

How can today’s technology evolve the music experience in the car from discovering new artists and music, to purchasing concert tickets and merchandise, to immersive lifestyle experiences that deliver just-in-time content, personalized offers, and can connect fans with all aspects of their favorite artists?

The Music That Moves YOU challenge wants to see how our innovative developer community can take advantage of the unique opportunities’ cars offer. Not just delivering music to listeners in the car...but the actual ability to bring fans to the music!

Music That Moves YOU challenges participants to envision how flash mobs, meetups, pop up merch stores, concert experiences, and curated special events can be created and delivered through the use of APIs from cutting edge companies including Ticketmaster, iHeartMedia and Arrive. These top brands will provide participants unprecedented access to their APIs and the project which weaves the most innovative experience together with Connected Travel and SDL APIs will win the grand prize of $12,000!

November 16-17, 2019
(Overnight Hack)


The Everly Hollywood
1800 Argyle Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028

More info and registration here at Capitol Royale 2019

Music that Moves YOU Challenge Partners:

  • Vehicle APIs: SDL
  • Voice commerce: Connected Travel
  • Parking: Arrive
  • Radio: iHeartMedia
  • Ticketing: Ticketmaster


Participants will have the opportunity to present your project to connected car decision makers based who will judge your project on the following criteria:


We’ve seen a lot of music apps…how are you going to impress the judges?


How well did you weave a fine tapestry of features with the available partner APIs?


How much work was made during the hackathon?


What is your in-vehicle experience, HMI integration, and use of additional resources?


How does your app stack up in practicality and usability?

It’s a wrap on the MakeItDriveable Challenge 2019 Lisbon

Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 by Ford Dev Team

We just wrapped up another successful MakeItDriveable Challenge.


The one-and-a-half day event saw a pre-selected group of companies pitch a cross-section of Ford groups including Commercial Vehicle Services, Ford Pass, Ford Credit Europe, Connected Vehicle Platform Team, Partnerships and the Ford Developer Program. It was the first time key stakeholder groups from across Ford were represented on-site. A key part of the challenge this year was that all challenge participants were pre-assigned Ford mentors which ensured that they had ample time to engage and gain feedback.

In addition to Ford, representatives from VCs, Global Media Companies, and Telcos also attended—and provided 1:1 mentoring sessions with the start-ups, to boot.

Now if you remember, we had previously announced we were looking to meet with development teams who had ideas for an iOS or Android application, or for the Connected Car in general.

We were going to listen to pitches and choose 3 winners of an all-expenses-paid trip to attend Ford Demo Days in Dearborn, Palo Alto, or London—and an all-expenses-paid trip to attend Mobile World Congress 2020 in Barcelona.

Well… either we got carried away with ourselves, or the talent pool was just too deep—because instead of three winners, we chose four—and we’re proud to announce this year’s winners of the MakeItDriveable Challenge are:


  • Country of origin: Israel
  • Category: Driver Health
  • Description: Personally equalized audio tailored to the driver after a short hearing test

Space Time Layers

  • Country of origin: Netherlands
  • Category: Navigation/Travel
  • Description: New layers for the in-car map, created by organizations, municipalities, and so on to show roadwork, etc.


  • Country of origin: UK
  • Category: Navigation/Travel
  • Description: Trip-planning, booking and recommendations


  • Country of Origin: Portugal
  • Category: Driver Health
  • Description: Driver health monitor built into car (e.g. heart monitor in steering wheel cover)

Congratulations to the winning teams!

Winners were chosen based on feedback from their Ford mentor, on-site focus group feedback from real customers and a 4-minute pitch at the end of the second day. Ultimately, winners were chosen for their uniqueness and their potential to work with Ford.

All in all, we were quite pleased with the results, and happy that our 5th year at MID was such a success. We host MakeItDriveable Challenges because they help us get closer to today’s hottest start-ups and ensure we continue to bring innovative in-car ideas to our customers.

Congratulations to the winners and to everyone else involved. And we’re looking forward to seeing you in Stockholm next year.

Please visit for further information.

Plan to make it to MakeItDriveable Lisbon 2019!

Posted on Monday, August 19, 2019 by Ford Dev Team

What a July!

In just three weeks on the MakeItDriveable City Tour 2019, we visited Porto, Lisbon, Barcelona, Madrid, Zurich, Paris and Amsterdam. We’re starting to feel like the Rolling Stones!

And although we didn’t actually perform for millions, it certainly felt like it. All told, we met more than 100 startups at City Tour events and reviewed 35 pitches to the Ford team. It was a spectacular success by any definition.

But we’ve never been “rest on our laurels” types, so even though the City Tour has just concluded, we’re already looking ahead to the main event…

The MakeItDriveable Challenge in Lisbon, 25–26 September 2019.

And if you’ve been thinking about “getting in the car” with an idea for the Connected Car or an iOS/Android application, you really should consider applying to secure a spot.

Now in its fifth year, MakeItDriveable is an opportunity to engage directly with Ford and potentially fast track your idea to market.

If your submission is accepted, you’ll have a chance to meet Ford executives, engineers and business teams, as well as other invited guests.

We’re looking this year specifically for ideas that are “Beamed In”—delivered directly to vehicles via the embedded modem—or “Brought In” to the vehicle via a customer’s smartphone and SmartDeviceLink (SDL).

Who should apply? Great question.

If you’re interested in enhancing driver’s lives through remote services, the Beamed In challenge is for you. More and more new Ford vehicles are now connected via embedded modem and (with customers’ consent) will have the capability to deliver a range of cutting-edge services. If you have an idea that could enhance vehicle intelligence capabilities and services, we want to hear them.

On the other hand, if you have an iOS/Android-based app and would like to deliver in-vehicle experiences directly to the driver via SYNC®3, consider applying for the Brought In challenge powered by SDL.

Either way, we want to make sure you get value by participating—which is why we’re pulling out all the stops to make the Challenge the easiest way for you to fast-track your opportunity to work with Ford.

Plus, Challenge winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to attend Ford Demo Days in either Dearborn (US), Palo Alto (US) or London (UK), and an all-expenses-paid trip to attend Mobile World Congress 2020 in Barcelona.

MakeItDriveable is an invitation-only event. If your submission is accepted, you’ll have access to a multitude of resources, including pre-challenge workshops on Slack, dedicated mentors, presentations to on-site focus groups, and more. This year, we’re also adding several workshop sessions that will occur throughout the day.

Interested? Learn more on the MakeItDriveable website. Or, for more information about AppLink & SDL, visit and

FordDev is 2 for 2 in sponsoring successful SDL Developer Conferences

Posted on Thursday, October 4, 2018 by Ford Dev Team

As the SDLC and its open-source connectivity platform approaches its 2nd anniversary, the FordDev team, along with its consortium partners, recently wrapped up their second annual SDL Developer Conference in Los Angeles, which was held from 11th to the 14th of September. SDLC members, prospective adopters, and developers who of course make it all possible, all descended on sunny downtown LA to debate and discuss the exciting future of the platform.

Attendees at this year’s Mobile World Congress Americas had a number of opportunities to interact with contributors from all aspects of the SDL ecosystem, discuss opportunities around the platform, and explore ways in which they can get involved.

The FordDev Make It Driveable Challenge LA kicked off the festivities. Following hot on the heels of the Tel Aviv Challenge held in Israel the previous week, meant the FordDev team engines had to be firing on all cylinders! Two successful Challenges later, and they find themselves with a ton of new innovative services and ideas introduced by the participants on both sides of the globe, with some very happy developers who won prizes for their hard work. Check out the Tel Aviv and LA Make It Driveable pages for Challenge results and event summaries.

With a packed agenda of expert speakers and thought leaders day two promised a wealth of information about the future of the connected car, where in-vehicle content will change as the industry approaches the autonomous world. Topics ranged from the legal considerations of working with the open-source platform to responsible data relationships, and thoughts on monetization within the SDL ecosystem.

Doug VanDagens, Global Director, Connected Services Solutions at Ford, opened the conference with a snapshot of the SDLC growth to date. He illustrated how the platform provides so many compelling reasons for anyone-and-everyone to join the ecosystem and benefit from contributing to a true open-source initiative, poised to deliver near and continued benefits. Doug has been the chairman of the SDLC board of directors since it was formed back 2016 and was instrumental in all of its early successes. He has announced that he is retiring from Ford, so we thank him for his work and wish him the best of luck!

view the accompanying pdf presentation

The SDLC has over 40 members from all areas within the automotive world. Real-life competitors sit side by side, setting aside competitive differences in an effort to nurture a successful ecosystem that will benefit all contributors. This isn’t always an easy path and there are many questions prospective members have prior to and even after joining the SDLC. John LeRoy of Brooks Kushman P.C. has been answering many of these questions for our members as the IP Counsel for the SDLC, so he was the perfect person to share a great overview of what it means to join the SDLC.

view the accompanying pdf presentation

John addressed subjects such as patents and trademarks, their use and guidelines. Of particular interest to the crowd was his explanations of copyrights and the impact of open-source contribution to intellectual property rights. An extremely informative session for prospective members in attendance.

The data age has reached the automotive industry and the timing coincides with a plethora of new and changing requirements for data capture, storage, and transmission. Bruce Gustafson, CEO of the Developers Alliance, advocates on behalf of developers and helps provide a voice for the tech industry in the governmental institutes in the US and Europe. Bruce joined us on stage to explain how all of the various members of the SDL ecosystem are impacted by legislation being introduced today and in the future. As technology evolves faster and faster, the lawmakers around the world will need input from our tech sectors to understand the actual impact their decisions can make on people’s lives.

view the accompanying pdf presentation

After the Make It Driveable Challengers competed on stage, the audience avoided an after-lunch-food-coma by participating in real-time voting, Michael Rasalan, the Director of Research at Evans Data Corp laid out their finding on developer sentiment towards the automotive industry, platforms, and resources gleaned from their in-depth global developer research. Takeaways from Michael’s presentation included addressing the fact that developers are working on the connected car right now and not waiting for future technology. Developers need a community to support their efforts, and if the SDLC wishes to grow, embracing developers is one of the keys to success.

View the accompanying pdf presentation.

The automotive and radio industries have a very long and rich history (i.e. they’re both old!) that is in the midst of a radical transformation. John Ellis, of Ellis and Associates, one of the founding fathers of SDL, currently works very closely with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) giving him a unique perspective on the subject of content consumption today and how it may evolve as the in-vehicle experience becomes more and more similar to the living room.

John conducted an informative discussion with an expert panel which included;

  • Michele Lavin of iHeartMedia
  • Stephanie Bauer Marshall of M3 Advisors
  • Richard Smith of OpenPath Products

The group had a candid conversation about the role that broadcasters have had in the automotive industry and how NAB constituents from both the radio and the television broadcasting world need to address how all content will live in the vehicle. The transforming role of technology, and how the two industries have historically not been first to adopt new technolgy, was a topic that illustrated the huge opportunity SDL presents. By working together and leveraging the advantages currently in place, the SDL ecosystem can prove to be an early tech-creator enabling opportunity and content monetization.

Livio is the project maintainer for the SDL platform. Paul Elsila, CEO of Livio, detailed a number of milestones achieved on the platform over the past year, including Projection Mode for navigation and the launch of Waze as an SDL enabled application. Paul also showed off highlights of the consortium such as breaking through 40 members and the launch of the Toyota’s first SDL enabled solution this past July!

view the accompanying pdf presentation

Scott Burnell from the FordDev team wrapped up the day with a session outlining both external challenges to SDL success and the plethora of monetization opportunities the platform presents to all of the various ecosystem members. Illustrating the rapid expanse of competitor ecosystems in Silicon Valley and China, Burnell implored the audience to learn from the lessons learned in recent history at mobile operators, handset makers, and the music industry, as these ecosystems expanded and inhaled the opportunities they once owned.

view the accompanying pdf presentation

His final message included visual examples of the unique SDL advantages such as access to vehicle data and how developers and OEMs alike benefit by working together to create enhanced features and compelling in-vehicle environments.

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