General Motors’ new software platform Ultifi is coming to vehicles starting in 2023

Beginning in 2023, GM will install a new end-to-end software platform in vehicles that will enable a wide range of capabilities, including allowing drivers access to in-car subscriptions and employing over-the-air updates to offer new applications and services, according to officials.

The software platform can be used to give owners more access to all of a vehicle’s operations, including the sensors. If the car cameras detect youngsters in the backseat, for example, the driver will be able to set child locks automatically. Ultifi will also provide subscription services such as Super Cruise, the company’s hands-free advanced driver assistance technology.

In a press conference, Scott Miller, GM’s VP of software-defined vehicles, remarked, “It’s a major next step in our software approach.” “Today’s automobiles are software-enabled. They’re going to be defined by it with Ultifi.” The platform will be constructed on top of the company’s VIP, or vehicle intelligence platform, which is the underlying hardware architecture that allows for more data processing power. Ultifi will work with Android Automotive, the operating system used in some GM infotainment systems.

(Android Automotive OS is distinct from Android Auto, which is an add-on to the operating system.) Capability and availability are the key differences between the two: According to Miller, “Android Automotive is a subset of functionality in the car.” “Ultifi is more of an all-encompassing strategy.” Ultifi, like Android, will be built on Linux, a widely utilized developer platform. GM picked Linux, according to Miller, because “at some time we really want to open this up” and allow third-party developers to launch in-car apps.

Due to the system’s computing demands, Ultifi will begin rolling out in 2023 and will be available solely to those vehicles and beyond. Customers can either buy the car or buy different access plans, similar to how they buy different phone plans, according to Miller. That means different costs and different plans, though GM didn’t go into detail. It also didn’t say how much money the new platform is expected to bring in.

This is the latest step taken by major automakers to make new automobiles more linked than ever before. The revenue-generating prospects in software and subscription services have been highlighted by both GM and Ford, and Ultifi is another step toward expanding those businesses.

Miller stated, “We are not migrating away from vehicles.” “We’re growing our company. Opportunities to produce additional lines of business and grow and exploit technology for other applications are not in addition to, but rather in addition to [our core].”