Both Ford and General Motors (GM) used the 2013 International CES show to announce that they want software developers to create apps for their cars, and that they will open up their vehicles' computer systems to engineers.
The Ford program is an expansion of the company's Sync software platform, developed in collaboration with Microsoft. The new initiative allows anyone to access the tools needed to create a Ford app and submit it for approval and distribution through Ford's store. GM's program will make apps created by third-party developers available in a catalog for its cars beginning next year. Both companies will allow apps to interface with cars' audio and display systems and to access some data from the engine. "There will be a category of apps that will be unique to our cars and very different from what people use today on their smartphones or tablets," says GM's Phil Abram.
However, carmakers will have to find a balance between marketing cars because of the apps they offer and increasing the risk of distracted driving. "Seventy-five percent of smartphone owners believe it's important to connect their smartphone to their vehicles, but smartphone users are twice as likely to use their phone while driving," says Ford's Hau Thai-Tang.
From Technology Review
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