Ford and General Motors [GM] are following the infotainment revolution and working to take the lead. Modern automakers are integrating more mobile apps into their vehicles, mostly for audio streaming, and GPS-based local searches, as well as navigation add-ons. For the most part, though, there isn’t too much past these, and there are no other apps that can be downloaded for your vehicle’s infotainment system, yet.
Ford and GM have both announced, at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show [CES] in Las Vegas, NV, that they will be opening their app platforms to outside developers. The hopes are that, like Google opening Android’s platform to outside developers, this will encourage a flood of new app development.
This could be a good thing for drivers looking to maximize their fuel economy, with apps that not only pick routes without traffic, but can use terrain maps to choose the flattest route. In conjunction with electric vehicles, an app could lead you to the nearest charging station, much like carstations.com or Nissan’s ChargePoint Network App. On the other hand, such development could lead to excessive driver distractions.
We’re hoping that Ford and GM’s moderation system will keep drivers safe by eliminating such things as video streaming and gaming. Ford’s global product manager for AppLink, Julius Marchwicki, has said as much, that such apps will be “instantly denied.” Significant testing will go into apps that make use of the vehicle’s sensors, including GPS, compass, and vehicle speed, to make sure that they don’t cause any problems.