- · Nearly 2,300 developers registered at the GM Developer Portal
- · Multiple app offerings, a built-in system and familiar code build excitement
DETROIT – The idea was so simple that even the judges in a hackathon couldn’t believe no one had thought of it before: Why not have a built-in vehicle application with two buttons – one reading Personal and one Business – that a driver could choose from when starting a trip? The Business button would track mileage and fuel consumption for work-related trips that could be used for expenses or tax reporting.
While a non-business traveler might not care, many other apps being worked on within the GM Developer PortalApp ideas are being developed at a steady rate and could appear in a General Motors vehicle someday. Since January, nearly 2,300 developers have registered on the portal, choosing to engage in a test environment with either GM’s Remote or In-vehicle application program interfaces, known as APIs.
With GM’s Remote APIs, developers can use simulated OnStar connectivity to develop apps that interact with the vehicle remotely, either from a smartphone, tablet or computer. GM’s in-vehicle APIs allow developers to use simulated vehicle information, such as location data or vehicle diagnostics, to create apps that would be incorporated into the vehicle’s infotainment system and would be available to download through a GM AppShop that is being developed.
The GM AppShop would be built into the infotainment system and would allow customers to select from various GM-approved apps they want. Drivers would be able to personalize their vehicle, similar to smartphone personalization. The infotainment system would be able to change over time as drivers’ needs change and as new apps become available.
“We have developed and designed connected vehicles and with that connectivity there’s tremendous range of what can be done with them,” said Nick Pudar, GM director, developer ecosystems, Global Connected Consumer. “There will probably be in-vehicle apps that are popular for everybody, but there will also be a range of apps useful to very targeted segments.”
Creating apps for GM vehicles is an intriguing opportunity for developers. While the number of connected vehicles will never be as large as the smartphone population, today’s vehicle app developers are early players in an uncluttered marketplace.
“It can be very difficult for a new app developer to get noticed or become relevant,” said Pudar. “Since our marketplace will be carefully curated for apps that are meaningful and appropriate for the driving experience, each available app will have much greater visibility. Couple that with the fact that on average we spend about 90 minutes a day in our vehicles, and you have a captive audience.”
GM’s flexible app platform is another advantage for both customers and developers. Developers benefit because it expands the types of apps they can create in vehicles.
“Since our future system is embedded, developers can create apps that use vehicle information. This will create a whole new category of ‘car apps’ we’ve never seen before,” said Pudar. “In addition, an embedded system is the only way to enable apps that can interact with the vehicle remotely. The range of embedded connectivity can be expansive.”
Customers benefit from a built-in system because it enables personalization, allowing for downloadable apps that uniquely interact with them based on the way they use their vehicles.
Even teens still waiting to get their drivers’ licenses can get into the act. Another app idea from the recent TechCrunch Disrupt hackathon in New York was a “Learn to Drive” app that allows the vehicle to act as a virtual driving instructor. The app would provide real-time instructions on driving maneuvers, offer speed limit alerts and keep track of driving statistics such as hours driven, maneuvers completed and nighttime hours driven in compliance with a state’s driver training program.
The teen group won first place in the Automotive category of the hackathon and second place overall.
About General Motors Co.
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.
About OnStar LLC
OnStar, LLC (OnStar) is a wholly owned subsidiary of GM Holdings LLC (“GM”). Along with its affiliate Shanghai OnStar Telematics Co. Ltd (a joint venture involving OnStar, Shanghai General Motors Co., Ltd (SGM) and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC)), OnStar serves more than 6.4 million subscribers in the U.S, Canada and China. OnStar is a provider of connected safety, security and mobility solutions and advanced information technology and is available on 39 GM branded 2013 model year vehicles. OnStar's key services include automatic crash response, stolen vehicle assistance, remote door unlock, turn-by-turn navigation, vehicle diagnostics and hands-free calling.