Ford Developer Blog

2018 Ford Hackathon Argentina

Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2018 by Ford Partner Relations

The next edition of Ford's Hack'n'Sync challenge comes to Campus Party at the Tecnóplis Showroom in Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 26-27

Thursday, April 26

Ford's integrated open talks and workshops by Ford executives.

Friday, April 27

Ford’s Hack‘n’Sync challenge begins. This is where creative and passionate designers, application developers and project leaders from around the world will gather to enjoy 10 hours of open coding experience. The objective will be to create disruptive and innovative mobile applications within 10 hours that contribute to improving people’s quality of life by seeking efficiencies in the way we move.

 

This is the second year that Ford will host the Hack‘n’Sync challenge with Ford AppLink®, a 10-hour hackathon that was developed within the local Campus Party edition, in the Tecnópolis showroom and runs from April 26 to 27. As the only automaker in attendance, Ford will host workshops and open talks led by Ford executives.

The goal of the Hack‘n’Sync challenge is to create disruptive and innovative mobile applications that contribute to improving people’s quality of life, seeking efficiencies in the way we move. To achieve this, creative and passionate designers, application developers and project leaders from around the world are invited to enjoy 10 hours of open coding experience.

Using AppLink software to open code, the creative process of each team will result in a series of applications that will be presented to the jury and will be evaluated according to the degree of innovation, creativity and possible use in the vehicles.

In addition, Ford will also host two workshops in which executives will provide more tools to attendees to further develop their projects. The first workshop is entitled Design Thinking and will be hosted by Carla Isler, Ford Argentina, IT Business Area Relationship Manager. Design Thinking is a methodology that is changing the way we address complex problems and will help attendees to start thinking about Mobility solutions, ideation and prototyping for the Hack‘n’Sync. The final workshop is entitled AppLink Open Class where attendees can learn about how to use AppLink to control Android apps. This workshop will be hosted by Agustín Perez Moreno, Ford Argentina, Senior Connected Services Engineer.

Prizes up for grabs are a Notebook Gamer LEGION Y720 i7 16 worth $1,500.00USD, a Cellular Motorola Z2 + MOD JBL Sound Boost worth $1,000.00USD and a PlayStation 4 PRO worth $500.00USD.

New version of the SmartDeviceLink Library for ANDROID just released

Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2018 by Ford Partner Relations

Benefits of updating

In addition to a number of fixes and enhancements, this update ensures Android Oreo compatibility and is a required update!

This update requires a manual modification of the Manifest files. Please see this guide here.

How to get the new Library

For easy integration of SmartDeviceLink Android into your project using Gradle, Maven or Ivy please grab a snippet from Bintray

Changelog

v4.5.0

API New Features & Breaking Changes

  • IMPORTANT: SdlRouterService manifest declarations now require an intent-filter and meta-data tags. These changes can be found in the documentation.
  • Now targeting version 26 to make use of new Android Oreo features.
    • Most broadcast intents are now sent explicitly instead of implicitly
  • Added methods to send a batch of RPCs. This includes chaining RPC messages or sending them all at once

Enhancements

  • Added method calls to retrieve pcmCapabilities from the SystemCapbilityManager
  • SdlRouterService had a good deal of refactoring and cleaning up to remove warnings and issues
  • Created a new way to retrieve the library version from apps.
  • Version checking for SdlRouterService is now performed before starting an actual router service.
  • General enhancements and stability fixes to the multiplexing transport feature

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a potential deadlock within the LegacyBluetoothTransport
  • Fix issue with video streaming not being able to restart after being stopped
  • Fixed issue where OnHMIStatus was ignored if the level was the same, but the AudioStreamingState had changed
  • Fixed potential NPE in the SdlProxyBase class when a packet was malformed
  • Fixed issue that would incorrectly unregister apps from the module through the router service when apps are being force closed and others register
  • Fixed issue in SdlRouterStatusProvider class where the handler wasn't able to obtain a looper.
  • Fixed issue in ServiceFinder class where the handler was using a looper than was exiting and therefore not posting the expected runnable
  • Fixed an issue that kept the SdlRouterService notification icon showing even if there were no current connects
  • Fixed an issue where the SdlRouterService would start regardless of what bluetooth device it connected.
  • UsbTransport was given a few fixes around incorrect exiting calls
  • Fixed an issue found with some modules where they would return a single SpeechCapability instead of a list

v4.4.0

API New Features & Breaking Changes

  • Now uses compile version 26 to handle breaking changes in Android Oreo
  • MOBILE_PROJECTION added as an app type
  • Gesture cancellation was added as a touch even type
  • More languages were added to the Language enum
  • SystemCapaibilityQuery was added with a new SystemCapabilityManager that can retrieve capabilities
  • VideoStreamingCapabilities were added. Includes supported codecs, resolution, etc
  • Added constructed payloads using BSON
  • SDL Remote Control functionality was added. Supports radio and climate controls.
  • Added MetadataType to Show lines
  • Spatial data for video streaming apps added with HapticData

Enhancements

  • Enhanced video streaming APIs
  • Added much more test coverage
  • Updated buffer read in sizes and streaming packetizers to use TLS max record size
  • Consolidated all references to sdl.router.startservice string into single constant
  • Refactored RPC classes to consolidate redundant code for retrieving items from underlying data structures
  • MultiplexBluetoothTransport is no longer a singleton
  • Improved inline documentation
  • h.264 streaming now includes SPS/PPS NAL units with every I frame to match iOS library
  • Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) video streaming is now supported
  • Correlation IDs are now set automatically. Can be retrieved or overwritten by developer.
  • Introduced new video streaming callback and deprecated used of pipped streams
  • Added an internal interface for common functions between different managers

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed potential out of bounds exception in BinaryFrameHeader
  • Fixed issues with unit tests and TravisCI
  • Fixed potential NPE in SdlProxyBasemethod, performBaseCommon()
  • Fixed potential NPE in MultiplexTransport constructor
  • Fixed potential NPE in SdlRouterServicemethod, handleMessaage() for AltTransportHandler
  • Fixed potential NPE in SdlRouterServicemethod, writeBytesToTransport()
  • Removed hardcoded androidDebuggable = "true" from manifest
  • Added fixes to be compatible with Android Oreo (Does not supported target API level 26 yet)
  • Fixed issue where intent from router service was delayed
  • Apps now trust themselves as router service hosts
  • Removed ambiguous validation call in SdlBroadcastReceiver and unused intent extra
  • Cleared all warnings from SdlProxyBase

Meta

  • Added integration that will deploy to Bintray
  • Issue and pull request templates were added for GitHub
  • Codecov integration was added
  • Updated README links

'Insanely rewarding': Acast's Simon Schmitz on the #MakeItDriveable Startup Challenge

Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 by Ford Partner Relations

The 2017 #MakeItDriveable Startup Challenge wasn't any ordinary hackathon.

Before, during and after the competition, entrants like Acast's Simon Schmitz benefitted from FordDev's unique commitment to helping developers realize their most creative solutions.

"We've spent a day and a night hacking, there was lots of coffee, sweat, sleep deprivation…but then you're there, in the Eiffel Tower, and you have a working prototype, and you can demo it to everyone? It was insanely rewarding, and the best experience."

By focusing on developers and companies that already had a SYNC AppLink app either in the App Store or approaching launch, the 2017 edition of the #MakeItDriveable Startup Challenge produced solutions that added real value to the mobile experience of millions of drivers around the world.

"Our mission at Acast is to empower audio content creators to have their voices heard," Schmitz said, "and we saw a great opportunity to win Ford as a partner to accomplish that vision. Ford has been a leader and an innovator in tech—but not only that, you also get a grip on the market, and what the market truly needs. From that point, we can develop a solution that can change the way we consume audio in the car."

Schmitz raved about the level of on-site support, with Ford engineers and executives on-hand to answer questions and solve problems as they hacked against the clock. But Ford's support for Schmitz and the rest of the competitors went far beyond having developer resources on hand.

Ahead of the competition, Andreas Brockers, Ford Business Strategy Analyst – Connected Vehicles and the Ford Europe team sent applicants regular emails preparing them for the format and requirements of the challenge, helping competitors arrive in Paris ready to maximize the incredible opportunity.

As Brockers anticipated, teams that leveraged vehicle data were surprised and delighted by the power it had to transform their apps. Acast, one of the winning teams, enhanced their podcast platform with a vehicle-aware feature.

"They will now use voice commands so you can easily navigate through your daily dose of podcast listening while you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road," Brockers said.

The Ford team also helped entrants fine-tune their solution with focus groups of potential users on site. Beyond the preparation, documentation, hardware and even on-site mentoring, Schmitz cited the "unique" experience of meeting with a diverse group of drivers as the most valuable aspect of the competition—and a key differentiator from hackathons that only focus on code.

Brockers reiterated the point he made before the Startup Challenge began: "If you get accepted, you've already won."

"It's all about our mantra, 'Make it Driveable,'" Brockers continued. "Even if your app has nothing to do with the car, think outside of the box and think 'How can I do that?' If you think your app is already improving drivers' lives, then put it inside the car to be used in a safe way."

Could your mobile app could benefit from a wealth of vehicle data, mentoring from OEM engineers, expert evaluation and real-world user feedback? Watch the Ford Developer Program site and MakeItDriveable.com for the announcements of future events!

Hundreds of developers attend Ford Europe's Country Tour

Posted on Monday, October 16, 2017 by Ford Partner Relations

 

After spending September hosting startups and listening to pitches in 10 different cities across eight different countries, Andreas Brockers, Ford Business Strategy Analyst – Connected Vehicles, can't wait to see more.

Brockers estimates he and the Ford Europe team talked to over 300 developers, engineers and entrepreneurs during the Country Tour.  At each event, FordDev demonstrated the power of SYNC AppLink and the opportunities the platform creates.  The Ford Europe team also provided access to valuable developer resources, such as the AppLink TDK. At each event, developers pitched their solutions not only to the Ford team, but also to the crowd, getting invaluable feedback.

"It was very interesting to meet all those different people," Brockers told the Ford Developer Blog. "We saw a lot of different ideas and technologies." The sessions included networking, where attendees got to interface directly with Ford personnel. Those developers whose ideas and concepts didn't directly relate to AppLink were connected with appropriate Ford resources—often right there at the event.

Many Country Tour attendees are now applying for the annual #MakeitDriveable Startup Challenge, being held this year in Paris, France on October 25th and 26th.

The FordDev website has all the resources AppLink developers need, and the #MakeitDriveable Startup Challenge site has all the event details:

 

Vehicle data, cross-platform support excite developers at SDL Hackathon

Posted on Friday, September 29, 2017 by Ford Partner Relations

Rauhmel Fox of WHOmentors.com is a battle-tested hackathon veteran. But he came away from the first-ever sdlDeveloper Hackathon excited by the potential, and reality, of SmartDeviceLink.

“I don’t think a lot of developers really understand,” Fox told FordDev. “We’re talking about an opportunity where the cars are coming together with the devices. That’s an untold level of connection.”

Fox, who came away from the event $5,000 richer, said he’d had experience developing for prior generations of Ford SYNC—but writing for Android and iOS, mapping to a platform used by many major domestic and international OEMs with a userbase of millions? It’s a literal new world of possibilities.

“I’m an Air Force Academy graduate, so my mindset is a little bit broader, [thinking more about] national appeal,” Fox said, “as opposed to just the joke of the day or the app of the day. So the breadth of, ‘Wow, this could be in other cars, it could be in other vehicles, it could be in other units,’ was more exciting to me than when it was one brand of car only.”

Ford Global Lead for Business Development and Partner Management Scott Burnell could sense the contestants’ eagerness to create cross-platform solutions.

“They’ve always been excited about working with Ford—hopefully,” he added with a laugh. “But now that you can say, ‘Hey, here’s Ford, here’s Toyota, here’s Suzuki, here’s Mazda all standing in the same room, and when you get your applications to work we can show you how it’ll work on the head units of each of these OEMs,’ that’s exciting for them and makes everything that much bigger.”

Fox cited the hands-on support as a major factor in how far he was able to take his solution.

“Having access to the engineers, obviously, was very helpful,” he said. “The initial issue for me was grappling [with] what was the SmartDeviceLInk about, what was going on; it was my first exposure to it. Obviously, having engineers there actually had built on it before crystallized for me where this could go.” Fox also appreciated having the head units on-hand, so he could instantly see the look and feel of the user experience across the multiple OEMs. “Third, just overall, the mood of people being agreeable and listening and being able to bounce ideas off of them,” he said. “Those three elements were critical for me.”

“I think with any hackathon, it boils down to getting started,” Burnell said. “We’ve gone to a master class that really lays it out for them, and we make sure that we have our support team really, really hands-on right at the beginning to help them kick off and get moving in the right direction.”

That robust support, as well as the growing maturity of the SYNC AppLink and SDL developer community, empowered the SDL Hackathon entrants to push their solutions farther—both in terms of innovation, and commercial viability.

“What we saw this time,” Burnell said, “was many of the teams were a little more refined with the features they were creating by being able to access vehicle data, and turn that around into an actual comprehensive application for their presentation.”

Fox knew he wanted to focus on driver safety. After doing some research, he saw an opportunity in emergency services solutions—and to have a compelling story to tell when presenting. Looking for resources to tap into, he discovered the Automated Packet Reporting System (ARPS), a digital channel for ham radio signals.

“[Even] as an emergency actions officer and air-battle manager, I’d never heard of that system,” Fox said, “though it had been developed by a contemporary of mine at the Naval Academy.” By connecting to ARPS via SDL, Fox could broadcast GPS location and vehicle-status data to a satellite-enabled network of 1.3 million volunteers.

“I do attend more than 50 hackathons a year,” Fox said. “However, I use the hackathons to identify applications for real-world needs. In contrast to the other developers, my goal wasn’t to focus on winning the prize; I actually wanted to find something that was useful.”

He did just that. In fact, Fox intends to publish his emergency services app.

“I’ve actually announced for a team of trainees to come learn about SDL and the application I’ve developed,” Fox said. “I’ve got a team putting it together, anticipating that I’ll be able to offer that app to the Ford team so it can be available on the AppStore.”

For Burnell, the most exciting part of the hackathon was the level of developer interest. The new FordDev developer relations committee created this event with very little lead time before MWCA17, yet it was nearly a packed house—over 40 individuals in a contest with a maximum capacity of 50.

Though Fox and the other entrants were able to create a diverse set of innovative, viable solutions overnight, developers are just beginning to tap into the power and possibility of SmartDeviceLink—both in the depth of vehicle data, and the breadth of the entire world.


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