GM's infotainment system is getting a significant upgrade.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are becoming ubiquitous in most modern car infotainment systems, so it doesn't come as a surprise that General Motors wants to integrate more smartphone-style functionality to its infotainment systems. According to GM's research, many customers "prefer an embedded technology experience" in their cars, and "increasingly expect seamless integration between the tech in their hands and the tech."
In response to this feedback, GM has announced it's working with Google to bring new options for a voice assistant, embedded navigation and in-vehicle applications to compatible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models around the world beginning in 2021. After then, the new tech is expected to be rolled out across all GM vehicle brands.
"We are re-envisioning the future in-vehicle customer experience, and this is just the first step. The integration of select Google technology and services into our vehicle infotainment systems will foster a more connected and efficient driving experience," said Santiago Chamorro, vice president for Global Connected Customer Experience, GM. Chamorro went on to stress that Google applications and services will complement GM's current infotainment features such as service recommendations, vehicle health status, and in-vehicle commerce.
Among the new Google services that will be added to GM's infotainment systems as part of the partnership is Google Assistant, allowing drivers to make calls or text a friend, play a favorite radio station or podcast, close the garage door (this requires compatible smart home devices) or change the cabin temperature using voice commands. GM says the Assistant integration will continue to evolve and enable drivers to renew their OnStar or Connected Services plans and check tire pressures, for example.
Google Maps will also be embedded, offering real-time traffic information, automatic re-routing and lane guidance. In conjunction with Google Assistant, the driver will also be able to use voice commands to navigate home, share their ETA, find the nearest gas station and EV charging stations or ask about a store's hours without needing a phone.
In addition, the Google Play Store will offer a range of in-car applications. GM says drivers can listen to the same albums, podcasts and audiobooks in the car as at home and stay connected with their most important contacts on communication apps. "GM is a trailblazer with Android in automotive and a leader in-vehicle connectivity," said Patrick Brady, vice president of Engineering, Google. "We're incredibly excited to work with them to transform the way people consume media, stay in touch, navigate and access information on the go."