GM to Reinvigorate Customer Experience with New PlatformBy Antonio Gozain | Thu, 09/30/2021 - 10:14
General Motors announced new end-to-end software platform Ultifi, which will come be part of its vehicles starting in 2023 and offer in-car subscription services, over-the-air updates and will transform the company “from an automaker to a platform innovator.”
“It is a big next step in our software strategy. Today’s cars are enabled by software, with Ultifi, they are going to be defined by it,” said Scott Miller, Vice President of Software-Defined Vehicles at GM.
The new software platform will give owners greater access to all the car’s functions, from weather apps to more complex features such as in-car cameras for facial recognition or to detect children and automatically trigger the vehicle’s child locks. Ultifi, named after the automaker’s new EV battery architecture Ultium, will give drivers access to subscription services such as Super Cruise, which is GM’s hands-free advanced driver assistance system.
“We are not transitioning away from vehicles; we are expanding our business. Opportunities to generate new lines of business to expand and leverage technology for other applications is not in lieu of our core, it is in addition to it,” said Miller.
Ultifi is part of GM’s Vehicle Intelligence Platform (VIP), which was presented in 2019 and debuted on the 2020 Cadillac CT5 sedan. VIP powers an electronic system, capable of managing up to 4.5 terabytes of data processing power per hour, “a fivefold increase in capability over GM’s previous electrical architecture,” according to GM. While vehicles already equipped with VIP are capable of over-the-air software updates, Ultifi will enable faster updates by centralizing the entire car modules on a single platform.
“The critical role of software and its importance to our vehicles, both now and for years to come, cannot be overstated. Our new vehicle intelligence platform and its eventual successors will underpin all our future innovations across a wide range of technological advancements, including EVs and expanded automated driving,” said back in 2019 Mark Reuss, President of GM.
Ultifi will be part of GM’s EVs and combustion engine vehicles in 2023. By then, the automaker will have many vehicles running Android Automotive operating system, which will work alongside the new software platform in certain vehicles, said Miller. “Android Automotive is a certain subset of functionality in the car; Ultifi is more of an umbrella overall strategy.”
The new software brings GM the potential for in-car purchases and subscriptions, which could become a new source of revenue for the company. In the near future, automakers could figure out a recurring revenue model, such as the tech sector has done, to rely on customers paying monthly or yearly fees for certain subscriptions.