You may have read the announcement during CES 2017 that a new Consortium has been formed by several leading Automakers. In January, it was announced that Ford, Toyota, PSA, Suzuki Motor Corporation, Mazda Motor Corporation, and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. came together to form the “Smart Link Device Consortium.”


The SDL consortium was formed with the goal of creating more choices for connecting smartphones with vehicles. The concept is pretty simple - let all types of mobile devices and applications co-exist in today’s automotive environment. 


The objective of SDL is to develop and provide a standard and reusable set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that allow applications on mobile phones to leverage in-vehicle resources such as the display, buttons, and the voice engine. This would help OEMs and Suppliers to create the appearance of a fully integrated application on the head unit.  In other words, SDL would allow OEMs to retain control of the User Interface design that is unique to their models and make – while accessing the functionality that exists in various mobile applications today.


SDL helps OEMs and suppliers to better leverage the broad smartphone ecosystem. The basic principles behind developing the SDL Consortium are:


  1. Leverage the rich applications developed for smartphones;
  2. Extend the phone ecosystem to the vehicle (as opposed to separately developing applications for various types of in-vehicle head-units and infotainment centers – creating duplication of effort).

The SDL Consortium will host its code on GitHub and will take contributions from various developers across the world. Members of the consortium will perform basic validations. However, it will be up to the Automotive OEMs to perform their own tests and manage their own developer programs. While applications that will run on all SDL compatible vehicles are being developed, OEMs need to test them and design the unique UI in their particular vehicle models that they desire. 


At HARMAN Connected Services, we are committed to the vision of SDL and are prepared with both products and services to support OEM’s and their suppliers who are a part of the Consortium. HARMAN possesses a range of reusable extensions for multiple platforms which improves the time-to-market. We offer services such as consulting, design and development of the customized SDL framework for OEMs, testing and application development. 


“Harman has been a great supporter of SDL and is well positioned to implement SDL with both products and services offerings,” said Doug VanDagens, Global Director, Ford Connected Services Solutions.


To learn more about various Automotive Connected Services provided by HARMAN, go to