GM develops new vehicle connectivity software platform

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General Motors has unveiled its own end-to-end software platform which it says will power future vehicle experiences and provide customers with greater digital connectivity.

According to the manufacturer, Ultifi will enable the frequent and seamless delivery of software-defined features, apps and services to customers over the air. It will also offer the potential for more cloud-based services, faster software development and new opportunities to increase customer loyalty.

Ultifi’s functionality builds upon GM’s Vehicle Intelligence Platform (VIP), an advanced electrical architecture. VIP-enabled vehicles currently provide over-the-air capability, high data bandwidth, robust cybersecurity and fast processing power. On top of this foundation, GM engineers will now add separate key software into a centralized layer that acts as a hub for vehicle systems. This, it says, will then enable accelerated development and deployment of software and applications over the air to millions of customers, without affecting basic hardware controls.

“GM has decades of experience writing vehicle software, creating a solid foundation to build on,” said Mark Reuss, GM president. “Now with Ultifi, we will be able to improve our software continuously, and deliver new features and apps to customers in a fraction of the time.”

It is claimed that users will benefit from Ultifi’s cloud-based connectivity by being able to seamlessly integrate important aspects of their digital lives. In the future, for example, internal cameras could be used for facial recognition to start the vehicle’s engine. Based on route planning and GPS, driver settings could be adjusted for extra caution in a school zone or vehicles could even communicate with a smart home en-route to deactivate the security system and adjust the thermostat.

“Increased flexibility and faster software development are two major benefits of this new technology,” said Scott Miller, GM vice president, Software-Defined Vehicle. “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.”

Though Ultifi is an in-house platform, it’s being designed with external developers in mind. To this end it uses Linux software, one of the most widely used platforms, which allows GM to give authorized third-party developers access to innovate on behalf of its customers.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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