GM's Marketplace adds shopping features to your car's infotainment system

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General Motors Co on December 5 said that it will equip newer cars with in-dash e-commerce technology, betting it can profit as drivers order food, find fuel or reserve hotel rooms by tapping icons on the dashboard screen, instead of using smartphones while driving.

Marketplace, which the Detroit-based carmaker says is the auto industry's "first commerce platform for on-demand reservations and purchases of goods and services", works through the vehicles' 4G LTE connection.

What's more, although the Marketplace is able to be used while driving, GM reportedly designed the system's interface ensuring customers don't have to take their eyes off the road for a prolonged period of time.

Marketplace is created to be used while driving.

"It does seem distracting", he said. The application appears as a widget on a GM car's touchscreen, and doesn't require the driver to type, scroll or search for desired services. "That won't go into the vehicle because the platform knows you", he said.

Though not yet released to the public, Marketplace will soon be available to 2017 and 2018 models with compatible infotainment setup from all GM subsidiary brands: Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. Although it varies by individual merchants, GM earns money off the platform through revenue sharing, platform-placement fees and the exchange of marketing support.

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The new feature, named GM Marketplace, is part of a push by GM and other automakers to provide new, in-vehicle tools that could become major sources of revenues as autonomous and fully driverless vehicles come to market in the near future. "Marketplace is the first of a suite of new personalisation features that we will roll out over the next 12 to 18 months to almost 4m USA drivers".

"We think we are offering a better experience to our core customers", says Santiago Chamorro, vice president-Global Connected Customer Experience at GM.

"This platform is financed by the merchants", Chamorro said.

- Parkopedia, allowing drivers to locate, reserve and pay for parking.

The rollout of Marketplace comes at the end of a year packed with tech-related announcements for the 100-year-old Detroit automaker, which is promising at least 20 new all-electric, zero-emission cars by 2023 - including two new vehicles in the next 18 months - and a self-driving taxi service in selected cities in 2019.

The Marketplace initially will include brands such as Dunkin' Donuts and TGI Fridays, as well as a GM store, in which users can schedule maintenance or order accessories for their cars.

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