GM’s plans to launch a connected services business inside cars

General Motors’ recently reported alliance with Lyft (adding GM and Lyft cars to Lyft ride-sharing cars) isn’t the only major development from the company that would expand in-car car connectivity, according to a report on June 30, 2018 from the Detroit Free Press.

GM’s Cruise Automation, a self-driving startup, is also exploring ways to possibly develop a new in-car business around its suite of automotive software features. The report says this could enable users to be able to order up coffee, express morning bathroom needs, communicate with multiple other cars for rides and pickups, search for and connect with services available in the vehicle while driving, and possibly even generate a small revenue stream as a service-provider within cars.

GM’s strong presence in the state of Michigan makes these moves more than just academic, at least in Detroit’s perspective. GM has one of the largest engineering and development operations of any automaker in the state, using six auto-assembly plants, as well as seven component and tooling plants. Also, the company employs more than 100,000 people around the state, nearly 25 percent of its U.S. work force. At this point, GM already employs approximately 2,300 in metro Detroit, covering additional work that has operations spread across the state as well.

In the report, GM Vice President of Product Development Alan Batey points out the number of GM employees working in metro Detroit increases even more when the Michigan operations are included, making this investment in a connected and autonomous future imperative.

Neither GM nor Cruise has confirmed the report but have said that autonomous vehicles are a critical component to the company’s overall strategy. Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen, Daimler, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Aptiv, Delphi and several other automakers have said they are taking similar steps. (Free Press)

Follow Paul de Graffenreid on Twitter at @paul_def.

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