Ford Developer Blog

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:


NEW SYNC 3 Emulator Version 1.1

Posted on Thursday, June 8, 2017 by Ford Partner Relations

Dear developer community,

We are happy to announce the SYNC3 Emulator version 1.1. We received a lot of feedback from you and used that to improve the Emulator in all areas, including the highly anticipated ability to use Video Streaming. This will allow you to try out your navigation apps and stream the moving map directly to the SYNC3 Emulator.

Further improvements include adding RPCs that interact with SYNC directly, such as initiating a phone call on SYNC or sending a destination to the embedded navigation.

The complete changelog is below, in the meantime, if you have any questions or suggestions please reach out to us via the #ford channel in the SmartDeviceLink slack (, our dev forums right here on or via email to

Added RPCs:

  • PerformAudioPassThru
  • EndAudioPassThru
  • DialNumber
  • UpdateTurnList
  • SendLocation
  • AlertManeuver
  • ShowConstantTBT


Vehicle Data Changes:

  • Added the ability to run 6 prerecorded route simulations.


Misc. Changes:

  • SDL Core version updated to 4.2
  • Updated to run on Ubuntu 16.04

Interview with Sam Matheny, CTO, National Association of Broadcasters

Posted on Friday, July 7, 2017 by Ford Partner Relations

Developers have always felt the tension of innovation: torn between the possibilities of cutting-edge tech, and the benefits of developing for a mature platform.

But National Association of Broadcasters CTO Sam Matheny says revolutionary new hardware and exploding mobile data networks offer broadcasters and developers the chance to start a "virtuous cycle"—a win-win scenario that makes trusted, high-quality broadcast content a key driver for mobile app and hardware sales.

As Ford's Scott Burnell told NAB members at their annual Radio Show Luncheon, those innovations and opportunities are coming together in what could be the "new living room": the connected car.

After decades of AM/FM radio and NTSC TV, over the last 10 years consumers have experienced an explosion of broadcast technology. From satellite radio and HD flatscreens, to HD Radio and 4K UHD smart TVs, the quality and features offered to users has grown astronomically. Over the same period, smartphones have opened new worlds of social and streaming apps, revolutionizing the way people get their information and entertainment. As mobile apps and IoT technology converge inside the connected car, the rate of change is thrillingly fast—and getting faster.

Yet according to Nielsen figures provided by NAB, 265 million Americans over age five regularly listen to AM/FM radio. That's 93 percent of the U.S. population!

When it comes to choosing between the massive legacy audience and exciting new tech, though, "It's not an either/or decision; it's a both/and," Matheny told the Ford Developer Blog. "We think that this rate of change really presents lots of opportunities for broadcasters to open up their relationships with their audiences and their communities."

Hundreds of millions of people regularly listen to over-the-air radio, including 93 percent of millennials at an average rate of 11 hours a week. It's still the No. 1 way people discover new music. The audience is there, the hardware is there, and AppLink gives broadcasters and developers a platform linking the two.

"The opportunity is tremendous, but it's not one in isolation," Matheny said. "Yes, of course, we would love to have radio apps, be that iHeart, or NextRadio or individual station-branded apps in the automobile. But to me, that would just be the beginning. Where I begin to really get excited, and what our members are getting excited about, is when they begin to wrap their heads around something like AppLink."

Radio broadcasters have always sought to maximize audience interactivity—from fielding listener requests and sponsorship giveaways, to call-in talk shows driven by user-generated content. With SYNC3, AppLink and the Ford Developer the opportunities for broadcasters and developers to create customized, compelling user experiences are unprecedented.

Matheny outlined the problem broadcasters are facing as they try to maximize these opportunities—the same problems facing developers on the cutting edge of the mobile space: Can they afford to iterate solutions across many different proprietary ecosystems? Where do they invest development resources? Where do they place their bets?

"We're really excited by the idea of SmartDeviceLink," Matheny said, referring to the open-source platform on which AppLink is built. "Now, as the developer community works with radio as part of their solution stack, you can develop something that can potentially play across several different car lines. That's a big checkmark, because that gets scale and it enables people to feel like, 'this has enough legs that I can invest here."

But AppLink and SDL offer broadcasters far more than just an open-source platform that ports radio apps across many different makers and models.

"Radio doesn't have to just be radio," Matheny said. "How do you take that experience, and know you have connectivity into the car and think, 'What else can I do with that? How can I create a better, more rich experience?'

"Maybe it's one that's personalized," Matheny continued. "Is it raining? Are the headlights on? Is the fuel almost empty? You may have access to other data, like if the person is a Starbucks drinker and whether there's one around the corner. There are all sorts of different opportunities that combine themselves."

Software that marries high-quality broadcast content, an enormous user base, unprecedented audience engagement and cutting-edge streaming technologies will drive Americans' information and entertainment consumption habits for years to come.

To be a part of it all, sign up for the Ford Developer Program and start learning how SYNC3 and AppLink are already shaping the future (and present) of digital media!


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

Posted on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 by Ford Partner Relations

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.

FordDev is 2 for 2 in sponsoring successful SDL Developer Conferences

Posted on Thursday, October 4, 2018 by Ford Partner Relations

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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