GM plans to "self-disrupt" in connected, autonomous cars

September 29, 2015 //By Rich Pell
GM plans to "self-disrupt" in connected, autonomous cars
Automaker General Motors (Detroit, MI) has announced it is planning new efforts to expand into car connectivity, car sharing, and autonomous cars, as well as enable services through smartphone apps.

GM CEO Marry Barra says the automaker plans to capitalize on these new areas of technology with a goal of "disrupting ourselves." In addition, such technology would allow the company to keep tabs on customer preferences and usage, enabling the company to better serve its customers.

While tech giants like Google and Apple are looking to gain a foothold in automotive infotainment with their software, Barra says, GM has the platform of the vehicle itself. The company hopes that connectivity will add growing value, allowing GM to retain more loyal customers, which in turn will provide data that it can use to tailor product features and services. As far as car sharing, it would, according to Barra, be "a hop, skip and a jump" for the company to offer broader car sharing services.

Connectivity and apps will help GM keep tabs on what customers are doing with their cars and how they are responding to such features as automatic braking or hands-free highway driving. In addition, customers would be able to automatically customize a car's features and functions to their preferences simply by using a smartphone app.

The company has also been moving quickly to implement high-speed, 4G LTE data connections in its cars. According to Phil Abram, GM's executive director for connectivity, "We sold more 4G LTE connected vehicles in three days in June than the rest of the industry did in the first half of the year."

The company's autonomous driving feature, "Super Cruise," will make use of the high-speed data connections in cars when it launches next year. The 2017 model-year Cadillac CT6 and CTS will be the very first GM products to showcase the semi-autonomous driving technology. It will allow drivers to fully take their hands off the steering wheel and their feet off of the pedals.

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