Automotive giant General Motors (GM) reportedly announced a new software platform for its cars called Ultifi, which is a wordplay on the name Ultium, GM’s new architecture of electric vehicle battery. The company stated that the new software will allow in-car subscription services, OTA (over-the-air) updates, and new opportunities for increasing consumer loyalty.
General Motors visualizes the new software as powering everything, from daily activities like weather checks to possibly controversial features like the use of onboard cameras for facial recognition or detection of children for automatically triggering the child locks of the car. The Linux-based system will be available to third-party developers who might want to create applications and other features for GM consumers.
Currently, the company is transforming from an auto manufacturer to a platform innovator, as stated by Scott Miller, the Vice President of Software-Defined Vehicles at GM. Miller expressed his belief that the software platform will be serving the role of a strong hub for all the systems of the vehicle.
The company confirmed that Ultifi will be integrated into GM vehicles, both gas-powered and electric, in 2023. By that time, the automaker will have several vehicles running Google’s embedded operating system Android Automotive. The operating system will work alongside the new Ultifi platform in some vehicles, said Miller. Not every General Motors vehicle will receive Android Automotive, which is slated to be integrated into new vehicles this year, added Miller. Android Automotive is a certain subtype of functionality in the vehicle whereas Ultifi is more like an overall umbrella strategy, he explained.
The software platform will also be connected to the cloud. This means that GM will be able to make consumer decisions without their active input. For instance, if a vehicle owner forgets to close the sunroof and the weather services are forecasting rain, the software of the vehicle can automatically close the sunroof.
Miller confirmed that Ultifi is not just connected to in-car systems. The company also visualizes the new software to be interactive with other smart devices such as a home security system or an internet-enabled thermostat.