Automakers rally against tech giants

Ford and Toyota are heading a consortium of automakers set up to prevent Apple and Google controlling how drivers connect smartphones to their cars.

Ford and Toyota are joined by Fuji Heavy Industries, Mazda, PSA Group and Suzuki in the SmartDeviceLink Consortium, a not-for-profit group set up to promote more choice in how smartphones get connected to in-vehicle technologies like dashboard displays and voice recognition, and in other programming.

Apple has launched CarPlay while Google has Android Auto, but automakers worry that if they establish themselves as must-have options, the influence of Apple and Google over the industry will grow.

Suppliers Elektrobit Automotive, Luxoft, and Xevo have also joined the consortium, while Honda was believed to have been interested in joining as well although they were not mentioned in the statement. By enlarging the consortium, the automakers hope to maintain control over how much access infotainment apps have to vehicle data.

Shigeki Tomoyama, president of Toyota’s Connected Company, said, ‘We are excited to collaborate with many auto manufacturers who share our view.’