GM seeks help with auto apps
To speed the introduction of infotainment features, General Motors is offering software developers an online kit to create programs for its vehicles.
To illustrate potential uses, GM demonstrated in Las Vegas last week applications from four new software partners: The Weather Channel, Slacker, TuneIn and iHeart Radio.
iHeart Radio allows motorists to tune in live radio broadcasts from the Clear Channel's network of 1,500 stations. Slacker Radio offers a choice of free music channels featuring content selected by disc jockeys, and TuneIn offers live radio channels featuring music, talk and sports.
GM, which made its announcement last week at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, says it hopes to roll out new infotainment applications in 2014 models.
Software developers will be allowed to download a new set of application programming interfaces, or APIs, to create new uses for GM's infotainment systems.
Software developers will submit apps to GM for approval, a process that could be completed in about three months. GM will ensure the app is safe and doesn't distract the driver, said Kathleen McMahon, GM's senior manager of infotainment program management.
GM has planned to set up an online app store ever since it rolled out its MyLink infotainment system in 2011, but implementation has been slow.
Only a handful of apps are available, such as Pandora, an online music service; Stitcher, which supplies news and talk radio; and Gracenote, which provides information about music played in the vehicle.
Some apps, such as The Weather Channel or TuneIn, will be adaptations of apps already developed for smartphones or tablets.
Others could be designed specifically for GM vehicles, McMahon said. For example, an app might help the motorist save fuel by analyzing the most efficient route to his destination.
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