General Motors has unveiled Ultifi, an end-to-end software platform that will be used by select next-generation electric and internal combustion engine vehicles starting in 2023. By the way, the only 2023 model year vehicle GM has confirmed so far is the Cadillac Lyriq electric SUV.
The automaker says Ultifi is designed to unlock new vehicle experiences and connect customers’ digital lives, helping enable “the frequent and seamless delivery of software-defined features, apps and services to customers over the air.”
According to GM, Ultifi also offers the potential for more cloud-based services, faster software development, and new opportunities to increase customer loyalty. Enabled by the Vehicle Intelligence Platform (VIP) advanced electrical hardware, Ultifi represents a new new centralized layer acting as a powerful hub for vehicle systems
Ultimately, GM says the Ultifi software platform will enable accelerated development and deployment of software and applications over the air to millions of customers without affecting basic hardware controls.
That means users can expect regular updates and will be able to choose from a suite of over-the-air upgrades, personalization options, and new apps—much like they get on their smartphone. As a result, enabled vehicles will have access to the latest software and capabilities, with some of these upgrades and settings allowing saving to authenticated accounts and transfer to similarly equipped GM vehicles (although a subscription may be required for that).
“Increased flexibility and faster software development are two major benefits of this new technology. Our in-house developers are designing Ultifi to maximize software reuse, which frees up more time to create value-adding features and services for our customers.”
Scott Miller, GM vice president Software-Defined Vehicle
GM offered a few examples of Ultifi’s capability, including the possibility to use internal cameras for facial recognition to start the vehicle’s engine, adjusting teen driver settings based on route planning and GPS for extra caution in a school zone, for example, or the vehicles’ ability to communicate with a smart home to deactivate the security system and adjust the thermostat.
Furthermore, the cloud connectivity could potentially extend to V2X or vehicle-to-everything applications to help advance GM’s goal of zero crashes and zero congestion. By communicating with other connected devices and infrastructure, vehicles could alert drivers of hazards or changing road conditions.
Last but not least, while Ultifi is an in-house platform, GM says it is designed with external developers in mind. Since it uses the popular Linux software, it allows GM to give authorized third-party developers access to innovate for its customers.