General Motors turns to Google for future vehicle infotainment

General Motors turns to Google for future vehicle infotainment
General Motors will integrate more Google functionality into its future vehicle infotainment systems, as shown in this concept dashboard interface. (General Motors)

Vehicle infotainment systems have been a hotbed of development activity for automakers, but efforts have met with mixed success amidst numerous complaints of software bugs and ease-of-use issues. After some research, General Motors has decided to team with Google to integrate more of that platform’s features into future infotainment systems.

Starting in 2021, General Motors will offer options for Google-based voice assistant, embedded navigation, and in-vehicle applications to compatible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles. Broad deployment across all GM vehicle brands is expected to roll out in the following years, according to the company.

“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, in a statement. “We will continue to offer our own unique infotainment features that only GM can deliver, such as service recommendations, vehicle health status, in-vehicle commerce and more, with the Google applications and services complementing our offerings.”

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Integrating Google’s Voice Assistant will provide drivers a more familiar way to control functions such as making a call, playing a favorite radio station, or regulating vehicle functions such as heat and air conditioning. General Motors expects the same driver familiarity through offering embedded navigation based on Google Maps and in-vehicle applications through Google Play Store.

Although General Motors will not do away entirely with its own features in future infotainment systems, the decision to lean heavily on Google signifies a shift away from more proprietary systems whose steep learning curves and temperamental behavior often frustrate users. Like many automakers, GM has in recent years phased in Apple Car Play and Android connectivity in its vehicles to enable users to perform some tasks through a familiar interface.  

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