GM High-Tech Performance Blogs
Expanding and enhancing the driving experience through technology
During the NAIAS we had the chance to visit OnStar's "bat cave" under the Ren Cen and sit down with Phil Abram, Chief Infotainment Officer at GM, to get the skinny on the 4GLTE systems being employed throughout the 2015 lineup. So far the list includes the Impala, Canyon, Silverado, ATS Coupe, and Corvette (10 total thus far), but will extend to all nameplates and 30 total models.
Central to the 4GLTE program is GM’s AppShop, which will allow users to download and run apps in their vehicle to enhance their driving experience in some way. Starting with vehicle health monitoring, which can even help schedule a maintenance appointment with the dealership, the possibilities are endless. GM plans to thoroughly test every app to make sure it is appropriate for in-car use, and not distracting. “We are trying to minimize driver distractions through the use of technology.” Some apps are audible like The Weather Channel’s five-day forecast. They are even opening up the app creation process to outsiders (stand by for details), which of course would also have to be tested and approved prior to being made available in the AppShop. And since these apps will be updated and developed throughout the life of the vehicle, it can actually add user value as the car ages. And best of all, the apps are free (at least for now).
The best part of the system, perhaps, is that it turns your car into a mobile WiFi hotspot. Whether you are a parent looking to keep the kids busy in the back seat with a tablet, taking a road trip for vacation and trying to upload pictures from your camera, or if you are on a business trip and need to update and send spreadsheets from your laptop – 4GLTE will keep you connected. Of course, a subscription will be necessary to use the service. Abram stated that three levels will be available: base (includes remote key and diagnostics), OnStar, and the data package through AT&T – plans will range in terms (from a weekend to a year). And for those worried about cyber security, Abram said the system is only able to read the powertrain and other diagnostics (not make any changes), and there is no way to “side load” the system – apps can only be downloaded through the app store.
Here is a list of planned apps:
- iHeartRadio (U.S. Only): more than 1,500 of the nation’s most popular live radio stations from anywhere in the United States, plus Custom Stations inspired by an artist or song. A Favorites menu allows easy access to stations saved across any iHeartRadio-enabled device.
- Priceline.com: search, comparison, and booking of a hotel room. With more than 200,000 hotels from which to choose, this app gives travelers the freedom to experience a little more and go a little farther because a place to stay the night is always just a few touches away.
- The Weather Channel: visual and audible weather information needed along a driver’s route, including current conditions, hourly and five-day forecasts.
- NPR: news, culture and humor from NPR and 900-plus public radio stations nationwide, including live broadcasts and more than 80 all-music streams. Uses vehicle location to automatically localize listening to the nearest NPR member station.
- Slacker Radio: handcrafted internet radio service with more than 13 million songs, plus news, sports, comedy and weather. Playlists can be synchronized with a smartphone, tablet or web browser.
- TuneIn Radio: more than 100,000 radio stations and more than 2 million podcasts streaming from every continent, including sports, news, talk and music.
- Cityseeker: relevant and personalized information about attractions, museums, restaurants, nightlife and shopping based on a vehicle’s location.
- Eventseeker: seek, share and live with personalized information about events, concerts, sporting events, festivals, performing arts, family-friendly activities and more. Never miss an event again.
- Glympse: temporary, person-to-person location sharing. Allows a driver to share real-time movement with anyone, including speed and estimated arrival time.
- Kaliki: spoken-word news and entertainment app that delivers up-to-the-minute headlines, traffic, sports, weather and marquee episodic content from North America’s leading publishers, broadcasters and producers.