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About SDL

History of SDL

The idea that would eventually become SmartDeviceLink started in a small team in Ford Motor Company as a solution that would enable existing smartphone applications to interface with vehicles. Ford first launched the product as AppLink™ in the 2011 Ford Fiesta. As part of an effort to evolve the company’s efforts in mobility and software, Ford contributed SDL into the open source. In September 2013, Ford acquired a small software team in Ferndale, Michigan to maintain and improve the software.

Today, the software is at the forefront of device connectivity solutions in automotive, boasting a thriving Automaker and App Developer ecosystem. Tomorrow, SDL will continue to expand its reach in device connectivity to the vehicle, beyond smartphones and in vehicle displays.

Michael Wolf

“Big players may attempt to enter new layers by using their strength in adjacent layers.”

Michael WolfOn Predicting 2016 Technology Trends, October 2015

Choices in Connectivity

| Automakers

  • Branded experiences
  • Application management and membership
  • Software ownership
  • Customer data stewardship
  • Safety and driver distraction responsibility
  • Finely tuned access to vehicle modules and controls
  • Data and analytics

|| Developers

  • Ease of Integration
  • Volume, scale and marketability
  • Access to rich and unique vehicle data
  • Inclusivity and openness to all interested developers

||| Drivers

  • Ownership of data and privacy
  • Personalization
  • Utility

Getting Started

In The Car

If you’re embedding SDL into the vehicle, your primary resource is our HMI Documentation.

On the Phone

Developing for SDL is easy. Head over to the Android or iOS documentation pages to get started!

Contributing to SDL

SmartDeviceLink is an open source technology with web, mobile, and embedded components. Even the documentation you browse on this site is open source! If you find a bug or would like to contribute, head over to our GitHub Organization for all the source code.

Working With Ford

While our documentation is enough to get your app working with Ford vehicles, you still need to head over to the Ford Developer Site for information on how to get your application approved for use in Ford vehicles.

To Drivers

If you’re a smartphone owner and an Internet user, the aggregate of information and personalization you’ve applied to various profiles and applications over the years has become an extension of yourself. SDL enables App Developers to bring that extension of you into the vehicle without exposing your data unnecessarily and through the developers you trust. SDL enables Automakers to compliment their unique experiences and brands with your apps, rather than replace them.