GM, Ford Announce Plans To Beam Google Maps Directions Directly To Autos

6/8/10

If you drive a General Motors or Ford vehicle and subscribe to proper services, you’ll be able to avoid printing maps and schlepping them to the car before the end of the month.

That’s because both auto companies today announced new partnerships with Google that enable users to beam turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps directly to their OnStar or SYNC navigation systems that are built into their cars’ dashboards.

If you drive a Ford, Lincoln, or Mercury, you’ll click a “Send to SYNC” link on Google Maps results. Once you’re in your car, and if you subscribe to SYNC’s Traffic, Directions and Information service, your voice command can download your Google Maps directions and off you go.

Similarly, drivers of GM vehicles can click on an eNav button on Google Maps results that will allow users to send turn-by-turn directions to the OnStar units in their cars.

The announcements follow last month’s demonstration of mobile mapping features between OnStar and the Google Android operating system for the Chevy Volt.

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  • http://fletchworks.com C. DeWayne Fletcher

    SUGGESTION FOR ENHANCED MAPS:
    1) Garage Sale feature … allows multiple “targeted sites” to be “qued up” for efficient routing to all of these sites, with best direction for this “route”.
    2) Newspaper delivery feature … similar to item above.
    3) Federal Express delivery, etc. … similar to the above.
    4) Real estate home search … similar to item above.
    NOTE: Each site, once serviced, will lead on to the next in the “que” for shortest distance to each, from the previous.

  • Dave Lukas

    Ooooooooorrr… you could just buy an Android phone so your Google turn-by-turn navigation device comes with you wherever you go, irrespective of what car you’re in, AND you don’t have to fret with the inherent awfulness of a Ford or GM (no offense to the new Detroit Xconomy-ers).

    Is there anyone who reads Xconomy that still prints maps out?!

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/hlovy/ Howard Lovy

    Well, I don’t know about Xconomy readers, but this Xconomy writer, alas, still prints out maps …

  • Dave Lukas

    Howard, I’m sorry to hear that… are you a smartphone holdout, or what?

  • JWilly48519

    Neither Sync nor OnStar has a viable business model, even in the medium term. As noted above, it makes much more sense for the user to interact with their own smartphone.

    That would be even more true if the car had Bluetooth-or-equivalent functionality to detect the phone’s type and model and program itself to mimic the smartphone’s display and controls in larger form at the dashboard, and so that the phone would know if an airbag-deployment event had occurred.

  • Dave Lukas

    JWilly, I’m inclined to agree. As the processing, communications, and general functionality capabilities of our handheld devices continue to accelerate, they will continue to supplant and consolidate the other electronics that we once interacted with on a daily basis. The point-and-shoot camera, the handheld GPS receiver, and the dedicated mp3 player are already becoming casualties. Hard to believe that On-Star, et all, will elude the same fate for long.

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/hlovy/ Howard Lovy

    Great discussion, for such a little blurb of a story! I have to disagree, though, that there is no business model here for OnStar, SYNC, or others like Delphi that are working on integrating your “smart phone life” with your automobile life. (Although maybe this is just my pro-Detroit optimism showing through now). As you know, the more we fiddle with our smart phones while driving, the more dangerous it becomes. So, the ability to interface, in a seamless way, with your car’s dashboard is crucial. Otherwise, nobody will even bother to pretend to keep their eyes on the road anymore! Laws against texting and driving are only the beginning. Delphi is working on a system that automatically shuts down any text- or video-centered app when you put it into drive. That, alone, could save lives. So, yes, everything is converging on the smart phone (well, except for me, and, well, please give generously!) but if you want to put it in your car, make it automotive grade (able to withstand extreme cold and heat) and make it safe to use while driving, then you need the auto companies and suppliers to bridge that gap. Lots of cool stuff being planned, so keep reading Xconomy Detroit!

  • Dave Lukas

    Boy, I don’t know about that. For better or worse, unless there are tax credits or other subsidies for this, I don’t see people choosing a technology that incorporates benevolent paternalism over one that allows them to make the choice themselves whether or not to endanger their lives. Almost everyone believes themselves to be a safer-than-average driver. Also, consider the aggravation to someone who wants his/her front passenger to tinker with the nav while they’re driving. No can do!

    Furthermore, the Android navigation app allows for near-flawless voice input with a single button press. So you can start your turn-by-turn nav without ever taking your eyes from the road. Unless a good number of people place a whole lot more value on such a device’s withstanding extreme temperatures than I suspect they do, it seems like a smarter play to provide seamless integration features with already-existing handhelds and their already-existing navigation software.

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/hlovy/ Howard Lovy

    I don’t think they’re talking about replacing your Android navigation app. I know Delphi is working with Google to transfer that app to the car dashboard screen in a seamless way. Your buddy, or spouse, in the passenger seat can still grab the phone and do whatever he or she wants with it.

    I did ask a Delphi exec. a month or so ago who is going to decide what apps would work in “drive mode,” and he said that was a good question, but probably somebody from Delphi. I’m thinking that would likely be somewhat controversial. Look at some of the heat Apple takes when it decides to sensor apps.

    However, like the film industry learned early on, self censorship is better than government censorship. If the automotive and mobile industries don’t figure out a way to prevent accidents, government will step in with, as you say, “benevolent paternalism.”

    All interesting questions as this convergence proceeds!

  • Dave Lukas

    Ok, if it can integrate with my handheld, that makes it less of an obstacle… but I still don’t quite understand the value proposition here. Is it just cosmetic (larger screen, sleek uncluttered dash)?