New General Motors Ultifi Software Sets Cornerstone for V2X, V2I Communication

2021 Cadillac CT5 Super Cruise
The Super Cruise in the 2021 Cadillac Escalade utilizes two advanced technology systems – a driver attention system and precision map data, to provide increased driver safety. General Motors

General Motors (GM) today announced a new software platform system designed to help enable over-the-air (OTA) software updates, features, apps and services to customers. Ultifi's implementation is a jumping off point that has the potential of bringing about more cloud-based services and faster software development.

The Ultifi platform will enable accelerated development and deployment of software and applications over the air to millions of customers, without affecting basic hardware controls.

This customization allows for an individualized experience as some of these upgrades and settings can be saved in separate accounts and transferred between similarly equipped GM vehicles. BMW's app currently allows drivers to carry their profiles with them and apply to those settings to BMW vehicles they get into.

Customers can expect regular updates and the ability to choose from several OTA upgrades, personalization options and apps, similar to a smartphone's update. These types of OTA updates are becoming commonplace with nearly every major automaker committed to them.

"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."

Ultifi builds off of General Motors' preexisting vehicle intelligence platform's electrical architecture, which allowed select vehicles to have OTA capability, data bandwidth, cybersecurity and speedy processing power.

Audi connected vehicle technology C-V2X school
As part of a software and vehicle-to-infrastructure development program, a warning appears on the driver's information display in an Audi E-Tron Sportback telling the driver that a school bus is stopped ahead. Audi AG

It opens the door for future safety improvements as well. With cloud connectivity enabled, the system has the potential to extend to vehicle-to-everything (v2X) applications to help advance General Motors' goal of zero crashes and zero congestion.

The platform could also communicate with other connected devices and infrastructure so that drivers could be alerted to hazards or changing road conditions in real time.

Users will benefit from Ultifi's advanced cloud-based connectivity to integrate important aspects of their digital lives. In the future, General Motors says in a statement that it could see using this technology for internal cameras to provide facial recognition to start a vehicle's engine.

Subaru currently has facial recognition software installed in its vehicles that allows its on-board infotainment system to recognize a driver and adjust personalized and saved settings accordingly.

The company could also see pairing with route planning and GPS to create teen driver settings, extra caution in a school zone or vehicles that could communicate with a smart home en route to deactivate the security system.

Audi is currently working with Applied Information Inc on a school vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) alert system for school zones and bus stops.

"GM has decades of experience writing vehicle software, creating a solid foundation to build on," said Mark Reuss, General Motors 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."

The Ultifi system will be built to select next-generation gas and electric vehicles starting in 2023. General Motors is the parent company of the Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC brands in the United States.