In addition to the news that future Chevrolet Spark and Sonic subcompact models will offer greatly enhanced infotainment options, General Motors has announced this week at CES in Las Vegas it will offer a new flexible application framework allowing drivers to add apps and features to their vehicles after the initial purchase.
Debuting in select 2014 models, system framework will include a catalog that will allow owners to choose from a menu of available infotainment-based apps specifically designed for the in-vehicle experience and this framework will also 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 function 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.”
Until now, GM has offered only select developers access to remote APIs that interact with its vehicles via the OnStar system. Now developers can work with the actual vehicle through the infotainment system thanks to the expanded environment of the new SDK.
“We have designed our SDK so that developers only have to write the software code once to address the entire population of vehicles and end users,” said Abram. “Developers can repurpose existing tools and code from existing projects as long as they’re consistent with applicable licenses. Our app policies will also provide flexibility in how developers can design commercial aspects of their apps as well.”
GM is using the HTML5 Java Script framework in its SDK as well.
GM will offer developers a software development kit, or 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.
At CES, GM is demonstrating applications from four potential partners for the new app catalog: iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Slacker and The Weather Channel. The catalog, which is not yet available on GM vehicles, is expected to grow as GM readies the launch of the new framework.