Signaling towards a connected car trend in the near future, General Motors has announced a next generation Software development kit ( NGI SDK) for apps on it’s in-car infotainment system. It will reveal nearly 400 vehicle data points for developers to create, test or debug their applications built for the GM car platform.

The biggest takeaway here, is that unlike the current scenario wherein developers had to physically travel all the way to Detroit or Michigan to test an app on the console rig to get a first-hand experience of their product, the 400 data points and the entirely virtual app building process provided will simulate driving situations and make developer’s testing phase hassle free.

Some of the noteworthy data points include:

  • Instrument panel measurements, such as trip odometer and vehicle speed
  • Drive information, such as presence of passengers or if the windows are open or closed.
  • Vehicle features, such as radio or backup camera
  • Performance and maintenance, such as oil life and tire pressure
  • Lights and indicators, such as a burnt-out lightbulb or low washer fluid

We want to let developers know that we are open for business.

said Ed Wrenbeck, director of Application Ecosystem and Development, General Motors. GM, which manufactures Chevrolets, Buicks, Cadillacs and other vehicles has nearly 12 million connected vehicles on the road today, the largest such fleet for any automaker.

If you were somebody like a map provider, for example, you could actually read the suspension data coming off the vehicle and use it to determine where potholes were at in the street, for example.

Wrenbeck said, by way of illustrating how third-parties might employ the available data feeds.

Just one example of some of the unusual ways that you can use data that GM provides uniquely, that other OEMs just don’t provide via their infotainment systems.

Those using the NGI SDK can hone in on any specific data points and the software will simulate a range of activities such as outside air temperature, cruise control info, road type and speed limit. The company will review the submitted applications (the process for which it claims, is one-step and quite simple) over a period of three or four weeks before putting them out on the car systems.

GM has been pushing aggressively into the autonomous cars business in the recent years as well. It announced the manufacturing of self-driving Chevy Bolts in December last year. It’s first fully autonomous car is electric and will launch on the Lyft platform.

Companies have been pushing money into Internet of Things, and connected cars definitely is the next frontier for IoT. Infotainment has emerged as a pre requisite of smart cars, and it’s good to see that companies like GM are making efforts to improve the user interfaces by providing sound developer base support.

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