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Try out GM’s in-car infotainment API at the “Makers Hustle Harder” hackathon in Tampa this week!

General Motors is hosting “Makers Hustle Harder” hackathon events in just three cities in the U.S., Tampa is one of them, and it’s happening this week! This is Tampa Bay developers’ chance to try out GM’s NGI (Next Generation Infotainment) API, which lets you build infotainment applications for the touchscreen interfaces on GM vehicles, with access to real-time data from over 350 data sources.

Makers Hustle Harder is an all-week event that starts with a kickoff meeting on Monday, February 27 at 6:00 p.m. at Tampa Hackerspace. That’s when teams (2 to 4 developers per team) will be finalized and participants will get an introduction to the hackathon, as well as NGI.

From Tuesday, February 28th through Friday, March 3rd, teams will work remotely on the their projects. Participants will be able to get live support from the GM teams from 6:00 p.m. through 9:00 p.m. on those days.

The final day of the hackathon will be an in-person event at Tampa Hackerspace on Saturday, March 4th from 9:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m., with people putting the finishing touches on their projects and making final pitches at 4:00 p.m..

The grand prize will be a trip to GM headquarters in Detroit for all the members of the winning team. There will also be prizes for runners-up.

GM’s NGI SDK in action. Click the photo to read TechCrunch’s story on it.

Apps written using the NGI SDK are written on Node.js using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, and run on 8-inch (diagonal) touchscreen in GM vehicles. GM’s native APIs give developers access to all sorts of car info, including:

  • Instrument panel measurements, such as trip odometer, orientation, and vehicle speed
  • GPS and navigation data
  • Audio playback and streaming
  • Status information, such as presence of passengers or if the windows are open or closed
  • Vehicle features, such as radio or backup camera
  • Performance and maintenance data, such as oil life and tire pressure
  • Warning indicators, such as a burnt-out lightbulb or low washer fluid
  • Internet data via OnStar’s 4G LTE

The NGI SDK also has a system that simulates real vehicle data so that you can test your apps on your development machine.

GM’s Director of Application Ecosystem and Development Ed Wrenbeck says that the NGI SDK makes it possible for developers to create apps ready for testing in as little time as a week. He also says that the API opens up a world of possibilities: “If you were somebody like a map provider, for example, you could actually read the suspension data coming off the vehicle and use it to determine where potholes were at in the street, for example. Just one example of some of the unusual ways that you can use data that GM provides uniquely, that other OEMs just don’t provide via their infotainment systems.”

Heavy Metal Racing, an NGI-based racing videogame that uses the Corvette’s steering wheel as a controller.

Here’s a video showing highlights from an earlier NGI hackathon:

How to participate

  1. Make sure you register for the hackathon at the official registration page.
  2. It would also help with planning if you RSVP at the pages for Monday’s kickoff meeting and Saturday’s full-day event.
  3. Get GM’s NGI SDK and documentation from their developer site.
  4. Assemble a team beforehand or find a team that needs developers at Monday’s kickoff. Each team must have at least one representative present at the kickoff.

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