GM Says They Are Dropping Apple CarPlay & Android Auto Over Safety Concerns

Apple CarPlay system via Adobe Stock
Apple CarPlay system via Adobe Stock

In today’s digital age, our mobile devices have become such essential parts of our lives that a little anxiety sets in when they aren’t within arm’s reach. Despite this GM announced it is dropping Apple CarPlay and Android Auto from future vehicles in favor of developing its own in-house digital interface.

This comes as a surprise to many current and prospective customers, as having Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included in a car’s built-in features would certainly work in the favor of both the automaker and dealerships. According to a study by AutoPacific, phone charging & integration with one’s vehicle ranked second in the most requested features customers would want in a new car.

Why Is GM Ditching Apple CarPlay & Android Auto?

So one has to wonder why GM would do away with this feature. Back in March 2023, Mike Hichme, GM executive director of digital cockpit experience told Reuters, “We have a lot of new driver assistance features coming that are more tightly coupled with navigation. We don’t want to design these features in a way that are dependent on a person having a cellphone.”

GM has also working in partnership with Google since 2019 in the development of their own infotainment system that would be more integrated with other GM vehicle systems, like its Super Cruise driver assistant. GM had also been creating a strategy for digital subscription services on its line of EVs.

“We do believe there are subscription revenue opportunities for us,” added Edward Kummer, GM’s chief digital officer. The company aims to generate between $20 billion to $25 billion in annual revenue from these subscriptions by 2030.

It’s Really About Safety

But now, GM is claiming that both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto may be unsafe for drivers under the notion that they promote phone usage while driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), systems like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto could be considered as potential causes of distracted driving. According to Tim Babbit, GM’s head of product for infotainment, both of these systems can contribute to poor driving behaviors, like drivers picking up their phones, being too preoccupied with the interface, and taking their eyes off the road.

Plus, if either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto exhibit slow response times, buggy connections, and poor rendering, the driver will more than likely pick up their phone while driving.

In their place, GM will be implementing their own digital operating system, “Ultifi”, which will be making its debut in the 2024 Chevy Blazer EV, into future vehicles that feature built-in Google apps like Google Maps and Assistant. It is GM’s aim that it will encourage future customers to take advantage of the system’s voice commands, rather than look down at the screen and physically navigate the interface.

We will see soon enough whether GM’s Ultifi system will be a suitable replacement for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the marketplace. Just like they say in the 1989 film Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.”

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