Ford Developer Blog

Make It Driveable Challenge: Los Angeles, 2018

Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 by Ford Dev Team

Scott Burnell of the FordDev Team gives us a behind-the-scenes report from the Make It Driveable Challenge LA, which was hosted during Mobile World Congress Americas, 11-14 September.

In the sporting world, a ‘back-to-back’ is known as a celebration. In the past 30 years we have seen the Pistons win back-to-back championships. We have seen the Red Wings do it too. And the Lions? Well, we know they have won back-to-back games at some point. The FordDev Team pulled off its own back-to-back feats this month hosting two Make It Driveable Challenges in Tel Aviv and Los Angeles.

First up was the MID Challenge Tel Aviv (visit – you can read our story on the Tel Aviv event here) which was held on September 3-4 and following fast on its heels was the MID Challenge LA, which took place at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Challenge was held as part of the 2nd Annual SDL Developer Conference during Mobile World Congress Americas that included a day-long learning conference, demos of AppLink and other SDL-enabled solutions on the MWCA exhibit floor.

Set in the iconic Ace Hotel, the Challenge drew upon the rich history of innovation that envelops the downtown LA scene. This is where early movie moguls first brought entertainment ideas to the masses, a perfect setting for the second-floor space that was filled with eager developers as Ford’s Kevin Burdette delivered his SDL Masterclass Session, the first introduction to in-vehicle development that some of the challengers had ever seen.

Previously formed teams and on-site collaborations participated in the challenge, and once they found their rhythm, ideas started to flow. Cocktails and appetizers provided by NAB Pilot provided a welcomed breather (and a little more inspiration!) to the Challengers. Then it was back to the task at hand: coding and testing assumptions against the emulators and the TDKs that were scattered around the room.

The rubber really hit the road during the last 12 hours of the hackathon, with alternating periods of deep silence and electric buzz. At some intense moments in the room, the brave teams were huddled around their laptops, deep in concentration, writing code, designing in-vehicle HMIs, or simply gazing out the window in a trance-like state due to lack of sleep. Other Challengers were bouncing ideas off each other, pausing only to enjoy the Intelematics midnight snack offerings, or seeing how many SDL fidget spinners one really can stack on top of another!

Finally, after many long hours hunched over laptops came the time to present the fruits of their labor. Participants were invited to show off their hard work and innovative ideas on stage during the SDL Conference the following day. Each team had 5 minutes to deliver their problem-statement and their SDL solution to an audience of over 150 people. They were given a presentation template and encouraged to produce a creative delivery using video, emulators and in-vehicle screenshots. All eleven teams did just that!

As someone who has seen many (and I mean many!) Challenge presentations, I can say that this group really impressed. It’s not always easy to jump on stage in front of hundreds of people and show off a product that isn’t fully polished and ready for consumption. Letting others peek behind the curtain can be nerve-wracking, but all of these teams came through with shining colors. All of our Challengers should be very proud of their presentations.

Not only did the conference audience get to watch the Challenge presentation, they also got involved. In another first for the SDL Conference, this year the audience got to vote on each entry in real-time. The audience score was added to the judges score, and then, the combined total decided the winners. It was a great way to see so many different points of view come together in creating a great buzz between the Challengers and the audience.

Once the votes were tallied, not once, but twice (just to make sure!), the top 3 teams in the Los Angeles Make It Driveable Challenge were:


Grand Prize - $5000


Winner - Tribal Scale


This app uses vehicle data such as GPS and cameras, to geofence a vehicle as an owner is driving through the city. Images of the surroundings are fed in to an AI engine which can then return the locations and events associated to the locations to offer drivers info on what is physically around them (museums, historical markers, points of interest, etc.) and what events they may be interested in attending (ball games, plays).


Second Place - Surface Pro Laptops & Keyboard Covers


Winner - CarPay


Securing parking spots, paying tolls, even fuel, everything in the smart car will need to be paid for. With CarPay, owners can set up an account once and apply payments all over town while going through their normal day.


Third Place - Tickets to the iHeartRadio Theater to See Choice of Artist


Winner - NAB Pilot


Accessing the broadcast radio tuner in an SDL-enabled vehicle opens up a whole new world of features and capabilities. The team showed us how a driver can enjoy their favorite radio station even as they travel outside of the broadcast signal area as an app running in the background that seamlessly switches from over the air, to internet broadcast without the driver having to do a thing. Other features included; a simple search for stations of a favorite genre while driving in an unfamiliar city without having to press the seek button continuously, and the ability for broadcasters to show contextual ads.

Fleet Fuel Management Solution and Touch Based Infotainment System Named the Winners of the 2018 Make It Driveable Challenge Tel Aviv

Posted on Monday, September 10, 2018 by Ford Dev Team

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL, September 5, 2018

Ford Motor Company today announced JiFleet Virtual Fuel Management Solution for Fleets, and Inpris – the company behind Sightless Touch, a user-friendly distraction-free interface for operating infotainment systems as the winners of the fourth annual Make it Driveable Challenge Tel Aviv.

The event took place during the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival this week, which draws hundreds of high-tech companies, investors and international corporations together. The Challenge attracted more than 140 developers and service providers, with 23 teams from Israel and Europe participating in the two-day challenge earlier this week.

Each team was given an opportunity to meet with mentors consisting of Ford senior executives from Mobility, Data Digital Services, Connected Vehicle Platform and Credit, Bloomberg journalist and Ford partners.

Ford also invited a group of real customers, consisting of millennials and generation X’ers to provide feedback on each of the applications. “We really provided something unique at our Ford Make It Driveable Challenge this year. Interacting with the focus group at such an early stage will reduce time wasted in the market testing process and will help verify usability and scalability of the applications,” said Scott Lyons, Business & Partner Development, Connected Vehicle Platform and Products, Ford of Europe.

A panel of judges comprised of Ford team members, Waze and distinguished guests named JiFleet and Inpris the winners of the 2018 Make it Driveable Challenge.

JiFleet was founded in 2016 and its winning platform provides a card-less white label payment method for fuel for fleets, integrated with fleet management platforms. JiFleet provides an end-to-end solution for fleet managers; identifying the driver, vehicle and even recommending the optimal fuel load to carry. Sharing the top prize, Inpris, the touch based infotainment systems solutions provider, presented an innovative HMI that enables superior infotainment control and driver awareness, all while allowing drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

“The creativity level I have seen over the past couple days is sky high. The Israeli ecosystem has once again proved to be fruitful and very advanced, both in the tech world but also in the automotive world. The wide-ranging topics discussed and presented, by various Israeli and European start-ups are the best proof of the diversity of the automotive industry and the constant progress it is making,” said Don Butler, Ford executive director, Connected Vehicle Platform and Products.

Two other participating companies gained awards during the Challenge: fleet management platform Bit Logistech and Mappo, a platform designed to connect content with locations – were named as worthy winners.

The Challenge gave mobile app developers and digital service companies access to Ford’s own development team, allowing them to work with AppLink on SYNC® 3 to create new ways for customers to stay connected while on the go. With access to over 15 million AppLink enabled vehicles worldwide, the Make It Driveable challenge is an incredible opportunity for developers and service providers to attract a whole new audience and revenue stream by ‘Getting In The Car’ with Ford.


FordDev Team heads to LA for the 2nd Annual SDL Developer Conference

Posted on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 by Ford Dev Team

All sights are set on LA this September as Ford presents the 2nd SDL Conference during Mobile World Congress Americas. Building on the success of last year’s inaugural event, this year’s conference is an even more ambitious 3-day event featuring a hackathon, conference and exhibit.

Developers will have the opportunity to interact with and learn from SDL members such as Ford, Toyota and Xevo. This is an ideal opportunity to join leading automakers, connected car suppliers, and fellow developers to learn how you can be part of the rapidly evolving connected car landscape.

The next great ideas for connected car content will come from the community of SDL developers. Connected cars are not part of the future, they’re already here!

Ahead of the event we caught up with Scott Burnell (Ford Global Lead/Business Development and Partner Management) to hear what he had to say about this year’s conference.

What is taking place in LA?

“This year, the SDLC (Smart Device Link Consortium) will hold their 2nd SDL Developer Conference, which includes a hackathon with a first prize worth $5,000, an exhibit and a full-day conference. The entire FordDev Team is really excited to be presenting this year’s conference, and from the looks of the early interest we should see attendance surpass that of last year! ”

What can attendees expect from the SDL hack, conference and exhibit?

“There’s really a huge amount going on for both OEMs and developers who are interested in working with SDL.”

“We will have sessions aimed at the current SDL developer environment and developer sentiment towards the automotive industry. We will also cover topics that impact everyone, such as data relationships and responsibilities for , including the recent GDPR launch and the State of California legislation.

We will also explore what it means to adopt SDL and the way in which we work within the Open Source space and discuss questions around intellectual property.”

What direction do you think the SDL project will take over the next few years?

“That’s a good question, and one we will be covering at the conference. One of our sessions will be on the growing need for automotive specific environments like SDL versus third-party solutions that may come from Silicon Valley or other areas, that look to encroach on an OEM’s capability to own their branding and monetization opportunities, as the industry moves from a hardware-producing industry to a mobility content and services industry.”

Will developers and OEMs be able to get their hands dirty at the conference?

“Yes, absolutely. We encourage anyone and everyone who has an interest in the connected car space to come and have a play with the technology. We will be showcasing SDL integrations from some of our members along with a number of SDL enabled applications and content throughout the Mobile Congress Americas exhibition space from September 12-14. Attendees can get to see apps such as WebEx, AccuWeather or Waze running on multiple OEM head-units, showing the ease of integration of SDL and how it is applied across different vehicle screens.”

Any final words?

“Yes, if you are thinking of coming along please visit to register, spaces are limited and are filling up fast. We look forward to seeing you there.”

The second annual SDL Developer Conference, Hackathon, and Exhibition will take place during MWC Americas

Los Angeles, California, September 11-14, 2018.

Conference Information


Date/Time: 10am Tuesday, Sept 11 to 8am Wednesday, Sept 12

Location: ACE Hotel Downtown LA , 929 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015 (map)


Date/Time: During MWC Americas, Wednesday, Sept 12, 9am-5pm
Location: LA Convention Center, Level 2, Theater C, 1201 S Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015 (map)


Date/Time: MWC Americas, September 12-14, 2018

Location: LA Convention Center, Booth S.2736, South Hall, 1201 S Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015 (map)

Please visit to register.

About the SDL Developer Conference

The 2018 SDL Developer Conference, Hackathon, & Exhibit is produced by The SmartDeviceLink Consortium (SDLC), a collaborative effort supporting the adoption of the SDL open source platform which allows automakers control of branding and monetization of connected vehicle experience. SDL provides app developers with a unique opportunity to integrate content in millions of vehicles and connect with consumers in new and exciting ways.

2018 Ford Hackathon Argentina

Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2018 by Ford Dev Team

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 3, 2018 by Ford Dev Team

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.



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


  • 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


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


  • 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


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

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