Video game Fortnite creator Epic Games is partnering with General Motors to use its Unreal Engine game development platform to build in-car software in which Epic is calling its “human-machine interface” (HMI) initiative. The Hummer will be the first to use the Unreal Engine, which is the primary software toolset developers use to make Fortnite and other video games. The Hummer EV is set to be unveiled on October 20th.
Epic says carmakers like GMC and the user interface and user experience designers tasked with crafting the software that car owners will interact with in the finished product can do more and do it faster using tools like Unreal Engine. Epic says this should empower designers to have a more active role in the development of the software.
For the end user, the use of the Unreal engine will enable advancements such as increased speed of infotainment screens as well as improved high-resolution renders of the vehicle and its various internal, underside parts, mechanical and software mechanisms, on central screens and other displays.
“Unreal Engine provides best-in-class visuals for production HMI, with car paint materials and reflections that bring the highest quality real-time graphics to the vehicle,” Epic says. “A comprehensive set of visual effects features that have been hardened by game development give automotive designers a robust set of tools to express creativity in their HMI designs.”
Epic said in a statement that its work on in-car software and partnership with General Motors is based on a prediction that autonomous vehicles will one day make the act of driving less important than the activities you can do in the car when software is driving it for you. Whether that’s streaming video, playing games, or using communication features for voice and video calls, Epic is interested in positioning the Unreal Engine as a core pillar of how all those features and functions get built.