A new in-car application from General Motors Co. that lets drivers of eligible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles order coffee and browse for hotels while behind the wheel has been met with outcry from a prominent safety group.
The app, dubbed Marketplace, allows drivers to browse deals and place orders through an in-dash touchscreen with several major brands such as Starbucks Corp., TGI Friday’s, Priceline.com and Dunkin’ Donuts Inc.
National Safety Council President Deborah Hersman says the app will contribute to distracted driving, already a factor in a quarter of all vehicle crashes and hurt efforts to stem rising auto fatalities, which grew 5.6 percent to more than 37,000 in the U.S. last year.
“There’s nothing about this that’s safe,” Hersman said. “If this is why they want Wi-Fi in the car, we’re going to see fatality numbers go up even higher than they are now.”
GM said Tuesday it will launch the app on millions of 2017 and 2018 model year vehicles equipped with Wi-Fi hotspots and compatible systems.
The first brands accessible through Marketplace include:
- GM lets customers buy 4G LTE Data packages, extend their OnStar subscription or receive offers for certified service, parts and accessories for their specific vehicle.
- Starbucks offers another convenient way for customers to order ahead and enjoy their favorite handcrafted beverage or food item. And as part of the Starbucks Rewards™ program, members enjoy more value by earning Rewards towards free food and drink. (Early 2018)
- Dunkin’ Donuts will help customers start their day off right through an experience that allows DD Perks members to preorder and pay onscreen for their favorite coffee and donut, at their preferred pickup location.
- Wingstop will allow you to skip the wait by re-ordering your favorites and paying ahead, so you can get home in time for the big game.
- TGI Fridays will let customers schedule a table reservation for them and their closest friends and family when they need a break from the week.
- Shell will enable the exceptional driver experience, providing ease of payment and savings with INSTANT GOLD STATUS in the Fuel Rewards program. Customers’ closest Shell station will be identified and station amenities showcased among the largest fuel station network in the U.S., with the ability to pay in-dash coming soon.
- ExxonMobil will quickly locate Exxon and Mobil fuel stations with details of what they offer, route you there and get you back on the road faster.
- Priceline.com gives drivers access to hundreds of thousands of hotels and exclusive hotel savings on the go.
- Parkopedia allows drivers to find, reserve and pay for parking, all at the click of a button.
- Applebee’s ensures customers are never too far from Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood whether close to home or miles away with the ability to locate their nearest restaurant, order featured menu items and reorder recent favorites through the convenience of their vehicle’s touchscreen.
- IHOP makes it easy for guests to enjoy hot, fresh all-day breakfast favorites like fluffy buttermilk pancakes on the go, thanks to safe and secure on-dash ordering and location service capabilities that help search and find the nearest restaurant for pickup.
- delivery.com empowers the neighborhood economy by enabling customers to order online from their favorite local restaurants, wine and spirits shops, grocery stores and laundry and dry-cleaning providers.
To allow merchants to efficiently and quickly integrate their content as part of the in-vehicle Marketplace ecosystem, General Motors is working with three main platform partners: Xevo (www.xevo.com) in Seattle, Washington; Conversable (www.conversable.com) in Austin, Texas; and Sionic Mobile (www.sionicmobile.com) in Atlanta, Georgia.
A major goal of GM’s service is to provide a simpler, safer alternative to using smartphones to place mobile orders, GM spokesman Vijay Iyer said, noting it’s designed in accordance with voluntary driver-distraction guidelines agreed to by car companies. The apps also have limits to how many steps a user must complete to place an order, typically three to four, he said.