GM Floats a Bullshit ‘Safety’ Excuse for Dropping CarPlay

Scott Evans, writing for MotorTrend regarding GM’s announcement earlier this year that they’d be dropping CarPlay (and Android Auto) support from future vehicles:

Tim Babbitt, GM’s head of product for infotainment, gave MT a better explanation at a press event for the new Chevrolet Blazer EV, the flagship vehicle in the no CarPlay or Android Auto strategy (and our 2023 MotorTrend SUV of the Year winner). According to him, there’s an important factor that didn’t make it into the fact sheet: safety. Specifically, he cited driver distraction caused by cell phone usage behind the wheel.

According to Babbitt, CarPlay and Android Auto have stability issues that manifest themselves as bad connections, poor rendering, slow responses, and dropped connections. And when CarPlay and Android Auto have issues, drivers pick up their phones again, taking their eyes off the road and totally defeating the purpose of these phone-mirroring programs. Solving those issues can sometimes be beyond the control of the automaker. You can start to see GM’s frustration.

Babbitt’s thesis is that if drivers were to do everything through the vehicle’s built-in systems, they’d be less likely to pick up their phones and therefore less distracted and safer behind the wheel. He admits, though, GM hasn’t tested this thesis in the lab or real world yet but believes it has potential, if customers go for it.

What a load of horseshit. If CarPlay is unsafe, why isn’t GM recalling all its existing cars that have it equipped? And that last sentence is the real kicker: hasn’t been tested, even in a lab, but he’s just guessing. In his imagined scenario, people check their phones while driving when the CarPlay connection flakes out. But if the car doesn’t support CarPlay, people will use their phones for every single thing that’s on their phones but not in GM’s built-in system. “If drivers were to do everything through the vehicle’s built-in systems” is as much a fantasy as, say, “If drivers always obeyed all posted speed limits.” It’s not going to happen. There is no plausible scenario where the drivers of future GM vehicles without CarPlay support check their iPhones less frequently than they do in vehicles that support CarPlay.

As GM continues to try to dig their way out of this idiotic hole, Ford CEO Jim Farley continues to laugh:

We’re committed to keeping Apple CarPlay & Android Auto. @Ford customers love the features because they help keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. We work closely with Apple & Google to create a very high-quality experience for customers. And I think we have the best experience out there with SYNC 4A.

It’s enough to make you think that GM’s decision to drop CarPlay was made by moles in the company planted by Ford.

Update, 12 December: MotorTrend appended the following to the bottom of the story:

After this story was published, GM contacted us with the following statement:

We wanted to reach out to clarify that comments about GM’s position on phone projection were misrepresented and to reinforce our valued partnerships with Apple and Google and each company’s commitment to driver safety. GM’s embedded infotainment strategy is driven by the benefits of having a system that allows for greater integration with the larger GM ecosystem and vehicles.

Someone at GM realizes what a colossal fuck-up it was to suggest that millions of their own cars on the road are fundamentally unsafe, without a whit of evidence.

Friday, 15 December 2023