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23 July 2017

GM will allow developers to test their apps in real cars

GM is giving developers a fast lane to make it easier to build connected car apps for infotainment systems. 

The automaker is offering up its next-generation infotainment software development kit (NGI SDK) to the general development community with a new twist: App makers will actually be able to test their creations IRL with the new Dev Client program.

The automaker claims it’s the first time a car company is giving developers a shot to work on their apps in a real production vehicle this early in the process. The friendlier, more open platform could turn the GM dashboard into a new space for connected car innovation — if it catches on with developers.    

“By introducing GM Dev Client, we’re giving developers the missing link they need to finalize their applications,” said John McFarland, director of Global Digital Experience in a release.

The app creation process is streamlined, with an open developers network ready for new applicants. Once they’re ready to make something, developers can download the new SDK, which has been available since January, to build out their app and begin emulating the in-car environment to kick things off.   

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Once an app design goes through GM’s internal review process, it can be downloaded to the developer’s own car for real-world testing. App makers will have to have at least one friend in the car with them, however, since safety features kick in so that a connected laptop can only be used in the passenger seat while a car is moving. 

GM is also planning to offer the SDK with a new set of templated frameworks, like a media player layout or a point of interest layout, to give developers a more focused starting point for projects. Those should roll out by the end of the year, according to the company.

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