GM is pushing for automakers to work together on software so that in theory customers would get better technology faster. If automakers were able to standardize software, we could see vehicles like the upcoming 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV and the 2025 Ram 1500 REV sharing some technology. GM is joining a group called Connected Vehicle Systems Alliance which is focused on accelerating automotive innovation.
“General Motors intends to play a leading role in unifying a global community of creative developers while reducing the time it takes for the industry, from automotive manufacturers to suppliers, to develop and integrate these features,” said Frank Ghenassia, executive chief architect of Software Defined Vehicles at General Motors. “By sharing existing technologies now in production, GM hopes to accelerate the development of an ecosystem that we can leverage to integrate third-party software at reduced engineering cost. This, in turn, can help lower the cost for customers and reduce time to market while opening the door for customers to gain access to more applications.”
Sharing Technology to Bring Down Overall Costs
Obviously, every automaker wants the technology that they are using to become the standard, but if they can find common ground on some of the systems, it would save every automaker money. With a huge company like GM joining COVESA, it improves the chances that they will find platforms they can cooperate on.
General Motors says that it is contributing vehicle services software called “uServices” to the automotive software developer community. uServices aims to standardize software to securely access vehicle systems. Creating a standardized interface would help development of software required by Software Defined Vehicles (SDVs). Nearly all EVs are Software Defined Vehicles.
GM recently committed to SDV standardization. In April, the company announced it would share uProtocol with the Eclipse Foundation. GM wants to see one standard that would connect automotive applications and services in all vehicles, not just in GM products or in vehicles. GM would also like to see the standards create efficiency across phones and other devices that communicate with vehicles as well.
According to GM, “While uProtocol serves as the backbone for more efficient vehicle software development across the industry, uServices is meant to set standards for interfacing with vehicle features and communicating through that backbone, serving as a standard API to abstract vehicle services, enabling a unified connected vehicle ecosystem. COVESA’s community brings extensive experience in the software services space. Introducing uProtocol and uServices across two organizations links strong areas of experience and drives more unified collaboration across a greater population of contributors.”
“COVESA is very pleased to have GM as another global OEM actively contributing to our open-source community,” said Steve Crumb, executive director at COVESA. “uServices is a great addition to the growing set of open-source solutions hosted by COVESA and made openly available for enhancement and adoption among a growing number of automotive stakeholders.”
How Collaborating Would Help the Consumers
The most obvious upside is that if the automakers would work together on the software, it would help reduce the research and development costs for the automotives. Instead of each company trying to reinvent the wheel every day, they could start with a similar platform and each company could tweak their own vehicles. The collaboration could also help bring auto repair costs down. If a vehicle has a bug in its software system, a number of different dealerships might be able to solve it. The problems will continue to get more complicated as the electrified vehicles become more reliant on software. Starting from common ground might help everyone.
Mary Conway is a professional automotive journalist and has decades of experience specializing in automotive news analysis. She covered the Detroit Three for more than twenty years for the ABC affiliate, in Detroit. Her affection for the Motor City comes naturally. Her father ran a gas station while Mary was growing up, in Wisconsin.
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