General Motors has announced a new flexible application framework at the Consumer Electronics Show that will allow drivers toadd apps and features to their vehicle after the initial purchase, allowing vehicle infotainment systems to improve over time.
The framework enables new set of vehicle application programming interfaces, or APIs, for developers, allowing them to interact with and build upon the infotainment systems in GM vehicles.
GM will offer developers a software development kit (SDK) through an online portal at http://developer.gm.com/. This will allow developers to work with GM in a secure and controlled manner to design, test and deliver the most relevant, customizable and seamlessly integrated automotive apps.
The implementation of these apps is incorporated into new infotainment systems, debuting in select 2014 MY vehicles that will change how in-vehicle apps are offered. The systems' framework includes an app catalog that will allow vehicle owners to choose from a menu of available applications specifically designed for the in-vehicle experience.
GM demonstrated applications from four potential partners for the new app catalog: iHeart Radio, TuneIn, Slacker and The Weather Channel. The catalog, which is not yet available on GM vehicles, is expected to grow as GM gets ready to launch the new framework.
In addition, the framework will allow developers to create a new category of vehicle apps.
"There will be a category of apps that will be unique to our cars and very different from what people use today on their smartphones or tablets," said GM Chief Infotainment Officer Phil Abram. "It's not just taking phone apps and making them functional in a car, which most car companies do in some form now. Instead, GM may approve applications that stem from vehicle ownership. For example, customers can choose to download applications that assist them in driving more safely or in a more fuel efficient manner, possibly decreasing the costs of vehicle ownership."
Once these apps are created and have been approved by GM for in-vehicle use, future owners of certain GM models will be able to download them directly to the vehicle through the app catalog.