Display of MyLink system in a Chevrolet Spark car Display of MyLink system in a Chevrolet Spark car Display of MyLink system in a Chevrolet Spark car
General Motors has announced a new set of tools and libraries for the automotive application programming interface (API) kit, which will allow application developers to build entertainment systems for GM cars on their own. This was made possible thanks to a new flexible application architecture that allows drivers to add new programs and functions to the car after its acquisition, improving the capabilities of the infotainment system. To create new software, GM intends to offer developers a special software suite (SDK) through its Internet portal.
Until now, GM only allowed access to remote APIs that interact with the OnStar system car. The new SDK will expand the environment so that developers can work with a real car through the infotainment system. “Thanks to the new SDK, we provide developers with a path to development for a new audience in new conditions, resulting in new customers,” said Phil Abram, Chief Infotainment Officer of General Motors. “GM intends to develop relationships with these developers in order to explore new applications that will benefit the owner’s overall impression of using the car.”
GM says the implementation of the program will change how automotive applications are offered today and will help create new types of programs for automotive systems. The basic structure includes a catalog of applications that allows vehicle owners to choose from menus specifically designed for use in the car.
The first programs from third-party developers that found their application in GM cars were ups from four potential partners: iHeart Radio, TuneIn, Slacker and The Weather Channel.
Available only in the USA in the top models of Spark and Sonic models, the TuneIn service will provide customers around the world with access to global, personalized infotainment content controlled via MyLink Radio. Users will be able to search for a station by station geography, genre, sports team name, station type or call sign. "We listened to the wishes of customers around the world when we developed the Chevrolet MyLink for Spark and Sonic models, and we believe that TuneIn will be a hit with those customers who crave personalization when they receive information and in entertainment, " says the director of the small car and Chevrolet electric vehicles in North America Christie Landy.
In Europe, the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system is equipped with the Cruze and Aveo car families. A compact Chevrolet Trax crossover will also be offered with the MyLink system.
GM OnStar system display GM OnStar system display GM OnStar system display
Chevrolet MyLink Radio functions as an extension of a smartphone compatible with Android, BlackBerry or iPhone. MyLink also supports Nokia phones with Symbian operating system and some Microsoft Windows Mobile phones. Owners synchronize their personalized music libraries, contacts, photos and videos from the radio, using their smartphones and connecting to the car via Bluetooth, connecting via a wall outlet or a USB connector.
The other two apps are BringGo’s full-featured navigation system and Apple Siri’s smart assistant.
Consumers who buy MyLink BringGo will have access to emergency information, such as information about the police, firefighters and the nearest hospital, thousands of “points of interest” - POIs, such as the nearest department store, restaurant by type, repair shops, etc.., local search using Google, real-time information about the state of traffic for selecting crash reports, band closures and alternative routes, 3D maps.
Now the catalog is under development, and GM promises that it will grow both quantitatively and functionally: “It will contain categories of applications that will be unique to our cars and will be very different from what people use today on their smartphones or tablets - said Phil Abram. “It is not easy to take telephone applications and make them functional in a car, which is now being done in one form or another by most automakers. Instead, GM can review and endorse applications that come even from vehicle owners themselves. For example, customers can choose to download applications that help them drive, making it safer or more economical, possibly reducing the cost of maintaining the car."
GM-approved applications can be downloaded directly to the system through a directory. “GM customers will soon be able to personalize and update applications in their cars,” adds Phil Abram. “This is a revolutionary change compared to today, when you buy a car and the infotainment functions in it are fixed and remain unchanged throughout the entire tenure.”
Today, GM sells more than 9 million cars a year around the world, which creates a large base of cars in which third-party applications can be used. First, the new application architecture will be available on selected 2014 model year cars in the United States, and then it will go on to the company's global cars.
Ford Sync system display Ford Sync system display Ford Sync system display
Ford rivals follow a similar path and make it even more ambitious. They not only offer the “Developer Technology Pack”, which the company itself describes as the “boxed version” of the Ford Sync system, but they also have plans to make their architecture for the global automotive industry what Android has become in the world of smartphones. “We want to create the industry’s most powerful architecture,” said Doug van Dagens, Ford Communications Manager, WIRED. “The simplicity with which developers can create their programs is extremely important to them, and we believe that Ford leads in both tools and implementation. By offering our AppLink API to other automotive companies, we can create a much larger “ecosystem”, and application developers will have the opportunity to create programs for a single automotive platform that can be used on cars of different brands,”commented Ford’s Vice President of Technical Support and the development of global products of How Tai Tan.
In the meantime, Ford focuses on three main categories of applications: news and information, music and entertainment, navigation and location. As a measure to ensure safe driving, the automaker will block applications containing video, excessive text and game content, distracting from control of the road and car.
Speaking about industry development trends, experts note that automotive application developers are now in the same situation as smartphone application developers several years ago when several platforms competed. Now there are only iOS and Android. In the market for creating automotive applications, everything happens in a similar way. Now every car manufacturer offers a product on their own platform, so developers must work with different APIs and SDKs. This is annoying, but feasible in mass production, as, for example, in the case of the Internet radio Pandora, but almost closes the market for small companies. This is where AppLink appears. Offering AppLink to any Tier 1 car manufacturer or supplier (equipment manufacturers) and providing universal APIs and SDKs, Ford is expanding its presence in the industry-wide application market and attracting more developers to its side.