Yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, the upcoming GMC Hummer EV will utilize the Unreal Engine to create an unparalleled infotainment experience. Don’t fret though, as you won’t be greeted by the Unreal Tournament announcer upon entry. Epic Games – yes we know they were responsible for Fortnite – has just introduced an initiative called Human-Machine Interface (HMI) to help automakers efficiently develop a high-quality user experience.

“The use of Unreal Engine in the GMC Hummer EV will provide richer graphics than ever before, celebrating the vehicle and its customers,” said Scott Martin, Creative Director of User Interface Design at GM. “We’re ecstatic to use Unreal Engine in our cockpit and look forward to sharing more details upon the vehicle’s reveal on October 20th.”

Gallery: Unreal Engine Infotainment

So why spend all the money just for some flashy infotainment screens? Well, it’s more than just an attention grab to pump up the new vehicle. Epic Games’ alliance with industry giants like BlackBerry QNX, Mapbox, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., Siili Auto, and Vectorform aims to make it easier for automotive companies to work more efficiently when building in-vehicle experiences.

Thankfully, as the game engine supports many existing hardware platforms including the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Automotive Platform, it won’t take ages to implement. Other HMI partners like Siili Auto’s bespoke infotainment systems and Vectorform’s customer experience platforms will also be supported.

“Thanks to Unreal Engine’s Blueprints visual scripting system, our designers can build projects without writing a single line of code,” said Clemens Conrad, Executive Experience Director at Vectorform. “It makes the whole process more efficient, and the iteration time much shorter.”

Keen readers may be aware that the Unreal Engine is already in use by automakers to provide a next-level car configurator experience. Unsurprisingly, it provides much better visual fidelity than the comparatively vanilla experiences we see currently. 

While Epic is just starting to get the ball rolling, the company is set to roll out more HMI-specific features in the coming months and throughout 2021. We remain excited to see what the future brings and how interior automotive experiences will evolve. 

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Epic Games Introduces Unreal Engine Human-Machine Interface (HMI) Initiative, Alliances and Automotive Development Workflows

General Motors GMC HUMMER EV will be the first vehicle to use Unreal Engine in its digital cockpit; new automotive technology and service alliances include BlackBerry QNX, Mapbox, Qualcomm Technologies, Siili Auto, and Vectorform, with more to come

Cary, N.C. (October 7, 2020) — Epic Games today announced a new HMI initiative to enable the creation of automotive infotainment and digital cockpit experiences. Additionally, General Motors’ soon-to-be-revealed GMC HUMMER EV will be the first vehicle to use Unreal Engine in its digital cockpit, with more details to come at the car’s October 20th unveiling. New Unreal Engine alliances with HMI technology leaders including BlackBerry QNX, Mapbox, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., Siili Auto and Vectorform are making it easier for automotive companies to work more efficiently when building in-vehicle experiences.

“We have a dedicated team of artists and engineers who have been working to support new features for HMI. We’re thrilled that the GMC HUMMER EV will be the first vehicle to use Unreal Engine in its digital cockpit, marking an exciting partnership in building next-generation experiences on embedded systems,” said François Antoine, Director of HMI and Embedded Systems, Epic Games. “As we move towards level five vehicle autonomy, in-car infotainment systems will become more and more relevant to influencing consumer purchase decisions, and Unreal Engine will bring new levels of flexibility, interactivity and visual fidelity to these next generation systems.”

“The use of Unreal Engine in the GMC HUMMER EV will provide richer graphics than ever before, celebrating the vehicle and its customers,” said Scott Martin, Creative Director of User Interface Design at GM. “We’re ecstatic to be the first vehicle to use Unreal Engine in our cockpit and look forward to sharing more details upon the vehicle’s reveal on October 20.”

Unreal Engine breaks free from traditional HMI workflows and provides key features for design driven development. These include support for version control, visual scripting via Blueprints, and direct access to a C++ codebase that enables more and more functionality to be exposed. Rather than passively producing reference images for engineers to implement, this enables designers to directly collaborate with engineers and actively deploy designs into the vehicle.

To highlight Epic’s commitment to HMI development, integrations with leading HMI technology providers are making it easier than ever to bring Unreal Engine into automotive displays. Unreal Engine currently supports a variety of hardware platforms including the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Automotive Platform, a product of Qualcomm Technologies. Siili Auto’s bespoke infotainment systems and Vectorform’s digital product and customer experience platforms are supporting Unreal Engine; support for the QNX® Neutrino® RTOS, a microkernel real-time operating system from BlackBerry QNX and Mapbox navigation are in development.

With many automotive companies already using Unreal Engine for car configurators and marketing operations, existing projects, assets, and pipelines can be reused with little effort for HMI systems, only requiring mobile optimization of assets. Conversely, assets created by teams working on HMI can later be repurposed for use in marketing materials. Once optimized, these assets can be used to target mobile applications or companion apps. Ultimately, this makes for more efficient use of company resources, and keeps designs consistent across an entire brand.

Epic will be rolling out more HMI-specific features in Unreal Engine in the coming months and throughout 2021—so stay tuned for more exciting developments on the horizon. Download Unreal Engine for free today and learn more about HMI workflows and functionality on our blog.
About Epic Games
Founded in 1991, Epic Games is an American company founded by CEO Tim Sweeney. The company is headquartered in Cary, North Carolina and has more than 40 offices worldwide. Today Epic is a leading interactive entertainment company and provider of 3D engine technology. Epic operates Fortnite, one of the world’s largest games with over 350 million accounts and 2.5 billion friend connections. Epic also develops Unreal Engine, which powers the world’s leading games and is also adopted across industries such as film and television, architecture, automotive, manufacturing, and simulation. Through Unreal Engine, Epic Games Store, and Epic Online Services, Epic provides an end-to-end digital ecosystem for developers and creators to build, distribute, and operate games and other content.

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