Can't use your cellphone in the car to order your food? Don't worry, you can do it from your dashboard instead.
Across North America legislators rush to pass laws that criminalize the scourge causing death and destruction in our roads: Pedestrians looking at smartphones. Meanwhile, General Motors is proud to announce Marketplace, a feature of their connected cars that lets Denali drivers or anyone in any connected GM vehicle to order up just about anything you want to eat in your car while you drive. According to Fortune,
But no distraction here, folks. To make it safe,
The GM Marketplace will let customers order food, make reservations, or find the closest gas station from their in-vehicle touchscreen; that is, if the store belongs to one of its participating partners, which includes Applebee’s, Delivery.com, Dunkin’ Donuts, IHOP, ExxonMobil, Parkopedia, TGI Fridays, Priceline.com, Shell, Starbucks, and Wingstop.
There will be limits to the functionality of the new marketplace feature since it’s designed to be used while driving. Customers will only be able to make a few choices on each “storefront.” For instance, tapping on the Starbucks icon would give customers a few favorite drinks to choose from, and possibly a seasonal offering. Customers can always update those favorites through their smartphone when they’re not behind the wheel.
There are already 1.9 million GM cars getting this tech uploaded automatically, no questions asked. And there is lots more to come, according to GM VP Santiago Chamorro. From the press release:
“The average American spends 46 minutes per day on the road driving. Leveraging connectivity and our unique data capabilities, we have an opportunity to make every trip more productive and give our customers time back,” said Santiago Chamorro, vice president for Global Connected Customer Experience, GM. “Marketplace is the first of a suite of new personalization features that we will roll out over the next 12 to 18 months to nearly four million U.S. drivers.”
Why should those 46 minutes be wasted, with drivers concentrating on the road, when this is a marketing opportunity?
“For most retailers and consumer brands the daily commute is the only time not accessible in a consumer's day,” said Chamorro. “Marketplace gives merchants the ability to more safely engage with drivers and passengers in a meaningful way that provides true value for our customers.”
GM also hopes to use its in-car Marketplace connections to expand purchases of products and services, such as additional access to in-car wifi, from its own replacement parts business and dealer network. Customers can “expect to see more service promotions coming through the platform,” Chamorro said.
That is so much more interesting than looking at the road! Some people are complaining: "Sorry. It doesn't make any sense. Your mobile phone already does that much better." But many jurisdictions don't let you play with your phone while driving. There are no rules against this, everything is fine, no distraction at all. Congratulations, GM, for making the big screen in the middle of the dashboard more entertaining and diverting.