GM expects to launch new in-vehicle navigation system in Canada later this year

DETROIT — General Motors plans to roll out a more convenient in-vehicle navigation system in the United States this month — and in Canada later this year — for select 2018 model-year and newer vehicles, the automaker said Monday.

On April 30, Maps+, which is powered by Mapbox, will be available to about 900,000 vehicles in the United States as part of select Connected Services plans. It’s an upgrade from GM’s OnStar turn-by-turn navigation tool, though that tool will still be available to drivers.

Owners of 2018 model-year and newer vehicles who want the new mapping system can download an over-the-air update. GM and Mapbox will continue to enhance Maps+ based on feedback and metrics, GM said.

“We know customers want an easy and convenient in-vehicle experience that improves over time,” Santiago Chamorro, GM vice president of Global Connected Services, said in a statement. “We listened to customer feedback and developed a product that works seamlessly with our current infotainment systems and provides a highly personalized experience that will iterate throughout the lifetime of the vehicle.”

The navigation system is part of customers’ connected services plans, which range between US$15 and US$45 per month, GM said.

There are plans to roll out the service in Canada at a later date.

“The initial introduction of Maps+ will be limited to select U.S. owners. We do expect Maps+ will expand to Canadian customers later this year, and will share more details about the program when appropriate,” GM Canada Communications Director Jennifer Wright said in an email to Automotive News Canada. “This is an exciting opportunity to expand the wide range of connected services we already offer Canadians.”

In one central interface, drivers can start the navigation system with Amazon Alexa built-in voice control and access podcasts or music through the map’s integrated apps.

“We know that getting from point A to point B is important, doing things without having to interact with your hand, but rather use your voice, being able to have access to entertainment. The notion of having to jump in and out of an experience to do all of those tasks, that’s what we wanted to solve for in a better blended [user interface],” Michael Szachta, product marketing director for GM Global Connected Services, told Automotive News.

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