Epic Games introduces Unreal Engine Human-Machine Interface for vehicles
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.