What is SmartDeviceLink?

SmartDeviceLink (SDL) is an open-source POSIX-compliant technology platform on which the Ford AppLink product is built and allows it to communicate between applications running on a mobile device and our SYNC in-vehicle software. SDL allows any OEM and/or Tier1 suppliers to connect vehicle infotainment systems to 3rd party enabled applications. It can be deployed to Linux, QNX, or other popular embedded operating systems and can communicate with any mobile device OS such as iOS or Android.

As with all open-source projects, SDL is driven by those willing to use and contribute to the initiative, and, in order reach a single standard amongst vehicle interfaces, the technology must be assumed across the industry. Ford and Livio look forward to adoption of SDL by additional OEMs and Tier 1 Suppliers so that administration of this automotive platform can be shared among additional industry members. Our vision is that those who use or contribute to the SDL project are able to work safe in the knowledge that the code they produce is part of a transparent and open-source project that is managed and constantly improved by the entire SDL developer community.


Ford contributed the entire core of its award winning AppLink software as this open source platform in January, 2013. It is hosted by Genivi and contributions are accepted via GitHub where they are managed at this time by Livio, a wholly owned Ford subsidiary, who was acquired in 2013 to manage the SDL platform. By promoting an open-source, industry-wide technology platform, Ford and its partners aim to simplify the development process and expand the market for in-vehicle apps.

Ford openly committed to building the SmartDeviceLink technology in public. Public commits, roadmap, and pulls from the SDL repository to create Ford product moving forward.

Automotive and technology leaders around the world join the SDL project at Genivi and commit to public contributions in an effort to help build a true automotive connectivity platform.

AppLink™ is now the Ford brand for linking mobile apps in the vehicle. It is delivered using SmartDeviceLink technology.


Get Involved

SDL uses the commercially-friendly BSD 3-Clause License, which allows anyone to use the code free of charge. Furthermore, any changes the developer makes to the code can be redistributed for any purpose - including commercial - with no fee, obligation or commitment so long as its copyright notices and the license's disclaimers of warranty are maintained. The unrestrictive nature of the license opens up enormous opportunities and enables OEMs, irrespective of size, to design and create new features that could be adopted throughout the auto industry.

Find additional information and join the SmartDeviceLink project at