GM has released a new Next Generation Infotainment (NGI) SDK. The NGI SDK represents a dramatic shift in the way app developers interact with GM vehicle data and create associated apps. Prior to the release, developers interested in developing apps for the GM infotainment screens had to physically travel to a GM facility in Michigan and test-deploy the app in a demo vehicle. The NGI SDK creates a fully virtual app building environment that developers can access anywhere.
"Historically, the automakers haven't made it very easy for partners to really utilize the connected vehicle experience," GM Director of Application Ecosystem and Development, Ed Wrenbeck, told TechCrunch. "So we set out about seven months ago, as part of our API platform to really fix that and make it very easy for the corporate community to exploit the connected vehicle experience."
The NGI includes a number of features that app developers can interact with. Examples include over 350 vehicle data signals, native touchscreen, onboard GPS and navigation data, access orientation, accelerometer data, driver workload response, input monitors (i.e. steering, accelerator position, etc.), play and streaming audio, and a touch display. Developers looking for inspiration should check out the GM App Gallery for examples of apps that developers have already built within the GM environment.
The SDK includes a single click submission process that compresses software and sends it to GM for testing. GM reviews apps before making them available for end users. Wrenbeck indicated that the review process takes a few weeks. While the app submission process may not be as streamlined as the Apple or Google Play stores, the process is certainly more open and quicker than most auto manufacturer in-vehicle app ecosystems.