Ford, Toyota and several other companies are pushing for a single, in-vehicle app solution.

Ford and Toyota have announced the establishment of a new organization that will work toward a new open source standard for the development of smartphone applications for vehicles.

Known as the SmartDeviceLink Consortium, the non-profit group also includes automotive partners Mazda, PSA, Fuji Heavy Industries and Suzuki. Elektrobit, Luxoft, and Xevo have joined on as the first supplier members; Harman, Panasonic, Pioneer and QNX have all signed letters of intent to join the group.

The consortium is seeking to develop a single standard for smartphone-to-vehicle application design. Such a system would allow developers to create a single version of an app rather than several different versions for varying infotainment systems, which would lower both costs and development times.

"Encouraging innovation is at the center of Ford's decision to create SmartDeviceLink, and this consortium is a major step toward that goal," said Doug VanDagens, global director, Ford Connected Vehicle and Services, and a board member of the consortium. "Consumers will win with new, innovative app experiences from increased collaboration and developer engagement."

Shigeki Tomoyama, president of Toyota's Connected Company said, "Connectivity between smartphones and the vehicle interface is one of the most important connected services. Using SmartDeviceLink, we can provide this service to our customers in a safe and secure manner. We are excited to collaborate with many auto manufacturers and suppliers who share our view."

The SmartDeviceLink technology is based on Ford's AppLink software, which was introduced in 2013. Last year Toyota announced that it would adopt Ford's open source app software; the first Toyota vehicles with SmartDeviceLink technology are expected to launch in 2018.