GM.automotiveIT

GM infotainment will soon feature customized apps (Photo: GM)

LAS VEGAS ”“ Developers will be able to create in-vehicle apps for General Motors infotainment systems, after the US carmaker announced a software development kit for programmers.

The kit will allow drivers to add apps and features to their cars after the initial purchase, which will mean infotainment systems can continuously be improved and upgraded.

GM announced the move at the CES consumer electronics show on the same day competitor Ford Motor also unveiled a program that lets app developers make improvements to its SYNC infotainment system.

GM is making its software development kit available online at http://developer.gm.com/.

The portal will allow developers to work with the company "in a secure and controlled manner to design, test and deliver" automotive apps, GM said.

Infotainment systems for 2014 model-year GM vehicles will already feature some of the new apps. At the CES, GM demonstrated apps from four potential partners: iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Slacker and The Weather Channel.

The development framework will let developers create a new category of vehicle apps that doesn't already exist in the world of smartphones now.

“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,” said GM Chief Infotainment Officer Phil Abram.  He added that GM could approve apps that stem directly from vehicle ownership such as apps that customers like because they help them drive more safely or fuel-efficiently.

Said Abram: "GM customers will soon be able to personalize and update the apps in their vehicles."