Recently, I traveled to beautiful Aspen, Colorado to discuss the connected car at Fortune Brainstorm TECH. The conference brings together some of the most knowledgeable people at the forefront of technology and innovation to brainstorm and advance significant industry themes. I joined a panel to discuss the future of the connected car with Andrew Chatham, Senior Staff Engineer at Google; Gary Clayton, Creative Director at Nuance; Robert Coneybeer, Managing Director at Shasta Ventures; Shervin Pishevar, Co-founder of Sherpa Foundry and finally, Matt Vella, Senior Editor at Fortune.
While many were interested in hypothesizing about 2025’s vehicles, I’m most excited about the advancements that we will see in 2015. We are entering a pivotal time where we will begin to see rapid advancements at the intersection of the automotive industry and mobile connectivity – the results of which will hit the roads over the next few years.
Today, nearly half of American adults have a smartphone according to the Pew Research Center. That smartphone is likely connected to the internet, equipped with GPS, and acts as a library for all their digital media. Being able to easily, intuitively, and safely access the information from your phone in the vehicle has become a necessity for many people. Especially when you consider the average person spends 450 hours a year in their car, or 90 minutes a day. That’s why we offer a variety of safe connectivity solutions across our line-up of vehicles that can access and connect your phone through your car like the Cadillac CUE, Chevy MyLink, Buick IntelliLink and GMC IntelliLink infotainment systems.
Engineering the connected car of the future is much more complicated than simply mounting your iPhone to your car’s dashboard. GM believes we need to work well with those brought-in devices and have great built-in capabilities.
GM has committed to embedding a 4G LTE connection in the car that will enable specific apps to be developed to let your car do even more. For example, future applications could allow your vehicle to communicate with owner and the connected environment to enhance safety and efficiency like real-time traffic, navigation, weather and vehicle health.
By investing in an embedded 4G LTE connectivity in most 2015 model year vehicles and opening up our platforms for third party developers to design applications specific to the car, GM is giving its customers something even more. With this embedded connection, GM cars become a part of your digital life, communicating with you (and your devices) even when you’re not in it.
From the discussions at this week’s Fortune Brainstorm TECH, it is clear that the vehicle will be one of the most important “next frontiers” for continued innovation. However, we believe advancements in technology are important only to the extent that they enhance the driving and ownership experience.
Our 17 years of experience with connected OnStar vehicles gives us the deep knowledge and expertise to lead the industry in connecting cars and customers who will be on the roads not only in 2025, but in 2015. And that is an exciting vision.
Philip M. Abram, executive director & infotainment officer for General Motors, is responsible for setting and implementing a global infotainment strategy for Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, GMC, OnStar, Opel, Vauxhall and Holden.