Epic Games has partnered up with General Motors (GM) to develop an in-car software for the upcoming Hummer EV that is set to be unveiled on 20 October 2020. The software, referred to as the Human-Machine Interface (HMI), is based on the studio’s renown Unreal Engine which have been used to create both first and third party video games.
Modern cars, especially Electric Vehicles (EV), rely on software to power their onboard infotainment systems. Epic believes that its Unreal Engine is a great platform for building the software thanks to its visual performance and technological advancements. The developer says that the engine will empower UI/UX designers to do more, as well as develop HMI systems faster and efficiently.
“Electrification is at the root of many of these advances, with digital hardware such as cameras, sensors, and displays, combined with cutting-edge technology like Unreal Engine, forming a framework on which to build new experiences,” said the company in the recent blog post. “At Epic Games, we’ve long been interested in the way the requirements for HMI development overlap with those of game development. Much of the functionality required to create HMI systems has been available in Unreal Engine for some time.”
The developer also touts the engine’s cross-platform capability, which supports many existing hardware platforms including the Qualcomm Snapdragon Automotive Platform and mobile operating systems such as Android and iOS. This would enable designers to easily develop companion apps of the HMI on mobile devices without needing to rebuild it from scratch or requiring different toolsets.
Besides that, consumers could benefit from the implementation of the Unreal Engine in HMIs as well. Epic says that infotainment screens developed with the game engine would not only provide them with a visually advanced interface, but also offer a smooth experience and faster boot up time. In regards to the latter, the company explains that its toolset allows HMI developers to load up various portions of the software in sequential order instead of simultaneously.
As for the Hummer EV itself, General Motors lauds it to be the “world’s first zero emissions, zero limits supertruck.” While most of its specifications are still kept under wraps, the company claims it to offer 1,000 horsepower, up to 11,500 lb-ft of torque, and could top 0 – 60mph (96km/h) in just 3 seconds. The new EV would also feature “crab mode” that allows it to rotate all four wheels at once, and enable it to move diagonally. (You know, like a crab). As mentioned earlier, GM will fully unveil the new Hummer later this month on 20 October.
Epic Games isn’t the first gaming related company to collaborate with an automaker. Polyphony Digital, creators of the PlayStation hit series Gran Turismo, developed the interface for the Nissan GT-R back in 2007 and not too long ago, NVIDIA also entered a partnership with Mercedes-Benz to help create software-defined vehicles for the car maker. On a separate note, tech giant Sony appears to be exploring the possibility of entering the automotive scene, evident of the debut of its Sony Vision S prototype car earlier this year.