According to The Nikkei Asian Review today, Toyota Motor will explore the possibility of using Ford Motor's platform for Internet connectivity between smartphones and "infotainment" systems in its cars.
The Japanese automaker made the announcement Thursday, but gave no details other than saying it would consider adopting Ford's SmartDeviceLink (SDL) platform in future releases of Lexus and other models.
This represents the first fruit of the collaboration that the two companies agreed to in 2011 regarding telematics for information services in cars.
It also suggests that automakers are not going to cede the initiative to the likes of Google and Apple and want more say in the connected cars of the future.
Ford has already commercialized the SDL platform. Based on technology from Livio, a U.S. company acquired in 2013, SDL lets smartphone apps interact with car-mounted terminals, enriching the experience of connectivity in the car. For example, it could let drivers use the display panels and voice-recognition features of devices like car navigation systems to control smartphone apps, read email messages aloud and utilize favorite smartphone apps to play music and view maps.
Ford's SDL platform competes with similar technologies for connected cars under development by U.S. information technology giants Google and Apple. Japan's Nissan Motor and Germany's Volkswagen have joined Google's camp for Android Auto, a platform that facilitates the use of Android smartphones in cars. Apple's rival platform, called CarPlay, utilizes the Siri voice-operable interface.
Toyota has thrown its hat in the Apple camp, but is teaming with Ford as part of its "competition and cooperation" strategy to also polish its own technologies in this field.