Here’s GM’s Latest Excuse to Drop Apple CarPlay, Android Auto

Published on December 13, 2023 in News by Guillaume Rivard

General Motors has been facing its fair share of criticism since it announced plans to drop Apple CarPlay et Android Auto in future electric vehicles, starting with the 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV that we’ve tested not only once but twice already.

Instead, the automaker wants to use a next-generation infotainment and navigation system developed with Google in order to capture more data on how consumers drive and charge their EVs. The system, which features Google Built-in (Google Maps, Google Assistant, Google Play) along with many available popular apps such as Spotify and Audible, will be free at first but will require a paid subscription after a few years.

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Mike Himche, executive director of digital cockpit experience at GM, initially brought a good point, telling Reuters that "we have a lot of new driver assistance features coming that are more tightly coupled with navigation and we don’t want to design these features in a way that are dependent on a person having a cellphone."

Just so you know, GM and Google have been working together since 2019 to lay out the software foundations (called “Ultifi”) for infotainment systems that will be more tightly integrated with other vehicle systems. GM's Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving technology is a good example.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

In the Name of Safety?

Now, there’s another explanation, this one coming from Tim Babbitt, head of product for infotainment at GM. In an interview with Motor Trend, he said the move is also about the safety of occupants.

Referencing studies by J.D. Power, Babbitt mentioned that drivers are sometimes experiencing problems with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto including bad connections, poor rendering and slow responses, even with wired integration. Many will pick up their phones again, turning their attention away from the road.

With Google Maps already built-in and a native voice assistant that actually works and has access to many of the vehicle's systems, GM believes it has part of the solution, thus making CarPlay and Android Auto unnecessary. On the other hand, it makes no sense that the drive mode selector is hidden inside several menus instead of being readily accessible on the dashboard or centre console, as we found in the Blazer EV.

Ultimately, the absence of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto has its advantages and disadvantages, and it will be up to users to judge whether they are necessary according to their needs. Remember, Tesla is doing fine without them. Same thing with Rivian.

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