Waze is a community-based traffic and navigation app, helping millions of drivers avoid traffic, save time and money. It’s home to the world’s largest network of drivers who work together daily to find optimal routes in real time.
The app consistently recommends the fastest routes based on real-time driving data from more than 90 million users. From traffic reroutes to low gas price information and relevant offers from favorite brands, Waze is one of the most comprehensive driving companions in the market.
Q: Why was in-vehicle integration important to your company?
At Waze, we put our driver community at the forefront, always looking to optimize and evolve the driving experience. The Waze guidance on Ford SYNC 3 System is the exact same experience our users get from the Smartphone app, and new features are available as soon as they are released.
Q: How did you decide what features to extend to Ford owners through AppLink?
Unlike projected platforms like Android Auto and CarPlay, SDL mirrors the full Waze app and complete feature set to Ford’s in-dash display. The user experience is exactly the same as on the Smartphone app; with the exception of a few features which are not designed to be used while driving like connecting to a Facebook account or calendar, and adding photos to a location.
Q: How did SYNC voice command impact your development approach?
Waze has its own Voice Command integration, which allows for a hands-free user experience. Together with Ford’s team we made SYNC voice commands work seamlessly to deliver an end-to-end hands-free navigation experience.
Q: What type of resource allocation did AppLink enablement require?
The first prototype which was presented at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2017 was developed by one developer in only 1.5 weeks.
To make the integration launch ready was much harder as Apple’s iOS 11 update changed a lot in terms of app mirroring. In the fall of 2017 we set up a “war room” with Ford and Waze engineers in Tel Aviv over the course of a couple of weeks. It was during this time that we significantly improved the performance and responsiveness of the full app-mirroring on SDL. The outcome of our collaboration and teamwork is now available to all SDL app developers.
Q: How did the AppLink development experience differ with that of other OEM efforts (if applicable to you)?
Surprisingly, developing for a mirroring platform like SDL required more effort than expected, as we needed to invest a lot in performance optimization and integrate touch-mapping from the head unit to the phone. These improvements are now available for all app developers, who can benefit from the work we did as one of the first applications using full app mirroring on SDL.
Q: Was the testing process for an automotive adaptation of your mobile app similar or different from others you experienced (if so, how)?
Our usual testing of a new app release contains feedback from several thousands of testers from the Waze beta community. As this wasn’t possible we worked with Ford to recruit approximately 300 test drivers – most of them Ford employees.
Q: Did the testing process highlight any usability issues you may not of been aware of previously?
Test drivers from Ford helped identify mirroring and voice-related issues, which could be fixed in time for the April 2018 launch.
Q: Any message, story, or information you would like to share with the FordDev community and potential AppLink developers?
With AppLink, Ford is the first auto manufacturer that is making it possible to deliver the full user experience from the smartphone to the central display of their car.