January 6, 2014 – It started with General Motors providing in-car services and was soon followed by Ford and others. But now Apple and Google are introducing smart car apps, integrating the iPhone OS and Android into automobiles and trucks.
Last year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Ford and GM announced the development of technology ecosystems built around common programming tools that web and mobile app developers would recognize in an instant. Ford chose Microsoft Windows Mobile App as its development platform and both made software development kits available online to the coding community.
The goal for the automotive industry is to build smart apps into the dashboard of vehicles to make them easier to drive, safer and far more enjoyable. An example would be a weather app combined with GPS to pinpoint the location of your vehicle and a radar projection of surrounding weather. Other apps include handsfree connections to office or home to interact with smart devices such as a computer, thermostat or even the oven.
For 2014 Google along with GM, Honda, Audi, Hyundai and Nvidia, the chip designer, are focusing on delivering a mobile operating system, purpose-built for vehicles. The companies have formed the Open Automotive Alliance which will serve as an open development standard for third-party application designers. For Google it means turning Android into the default vehicle operating system standard. It also means existing mobile apps will be adapted for safe in-car use.
This week GM is demonstrating at the CES its app capability for all 2015 Chevrolet models. The GM AppShop will be available for download from the touchscreen display in every Chevrolet. Current apps include the Weather Channel, Slacker Radio and NPR. A diagnostics app will let the driver know about the state of vehicle health and let he or she schedule a service appointment.