GM gives app developers industry-first in-vehicle testing
General Motors has launched GM Dev Client, an app that gives approved developers who have created in-vehicle applications the ability to test them in a real GM vehicle. The company says that in-vehicle app testing is the next step for app developers who have already created a proof of concept using GM’s next-generation infotainment software development kit (NGI SDK). As stated by John McFarland, director of Global Digital Experience, “GM Dev Client will help us and external developers make sure the best in-vehicle apps are ultimately made available in GM vehicles, ensuring the best customer experience for drivers.”
In January 2017, GM released the NGI SDK, which mimics real vehicle data and enables developers outside of GM to build apps without making frequent trips to Detroit to conduct testing on infotainment modules. With GM Dev Client, those apps reportedly can now be tested on a real GM vehicle anywhere in the U.S.
By the end of 2017, the NGI SDK will offer templated frameworks for developers such as a media player layout or a point of interest layout.
The following steps are performed sequentially to conduct in-vehicle app development and testing:
Phase 1: App Building
1. Visit developer.gm.com
Register, accept terms, and activate your account to receive immediate access to GM’s developer site, software development kit, and all documentation.
2. Download and install the NGI SDK
Download the NGI SDK package source from developer.gm.com/ngi (generally in less than a minute, depending on internet connection speed). Install a private node module for a quick set-up process familiar to front-end developers.
3. Begin building using emulated vehicle behavior
Set up your development environment and start using the same APIs available in-vehicle. Use a suite of tools to adjust up to nearly 400 simulated vehicle data points such as network connectivity, location, speed, and more.
Phase 2: App Testing
4. Download GM Dev Client from the AppShop
GM vehicles with compatible infotainment systems can be used for real-world testing. After providing GM with your compatible vehicle’s identification number (VIN), your app will go through GM’s internal review process for suitability. Once approved, the GM Dev Client will appear in the vehicle’s AppShop for download.
5. Begin real-world testing
Once you download and begin running GM Dev Client, your approved app will appear on the in-vehicle infotainment screen for real-world testing. You can test from your laptop within the car, as driver lock-out safety features are prebuilt into the GM Dev Client so that, according to GM, only a passenger can test the app while the vehicle is in motion. Conduct on-the-fly code changes and reportedly see updates to your app reflected instantly.