GM Defends Decision to Ditch Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Citing Safety Concerns

General Motors Defends Decision to Ditch Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Citing Safety Concerns | CIO Women Magazine

The Fallout of GM’s Decision

In a bold move, General Motors (GM) has been grappling with the aftermath of its controversial decision to abandon Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in favor of developing an in-house infotainment system. Over the past eight months, the automaker has faced skepticism from dealers and consumers alike, who remain unconvinced that GM’s in-house system will deliver a “compelling” user experience. Undeterred by public opinion, GM is now shifting its narrative, asserting that the widely-used Apple CarPlay and Android Auto pose safety risks that drive distraction.

Safety Concerns over CarPlay and Android Auto

In an exclusive interview with Motor Trend, GM’s head of product for infotainment, Tim Babbit, shed light on the rationale behind the company’s drastic move and its newfound safety concerns. Babbit argues that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto inadvertently promote cell phone use while driving due to their inherent imperfections. Both programs, according to Babbit, suffer from stability issues leading to bad connections, poor rendering, slow responses, and dropped connections. When confronted with such problems, frustrated drivers reportedly resort to picking up their phones, diverting their attention from the road and undermining the intended safety benefits of phone-mirroring systems.

General Motors’s Ultifi System Aims for Safety and Data Harvesting

To address these concerns, GM is introducing its proprietary infotainment system, Ultifi, making its debut in the upcoming 2024 Chevy Blazer EV. Ultifi integrates Google apps, such as Google Maps and Assistant, directly into the system. The strategy is to provide users with a seamless experience that reduces reliance on smartphones.

By offering voice controls for calls, and texts, and managing audio and climate systems, GM aims to keep drivers focused on the road. While Tim Babbit concedes that GM has not conducted controlled testing to verify the effectiveness of its approach, the automaker remains optimistic that a robust in-built system will discourage the use of handheld devices.

Beyond enhancing the driver’s tech experience, GM acknowledges a secondary motive: the collection of valuable driver data and potential revenue from subscription services. As Ultifi becomes a central feature in GM vehicles, the company anticipates not only improved safety but also a lucrative avenue for monetizing driver interactions through subscription-based services. This dual-purpose strategy reflects General Motors’s commitment to staying at the forefront of automotive technology while exploring new revenue streams in the ever-evolving landscape of connected vehicles.

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