"Then we're adding this service oriented layer on our high performance computing that we have in the vehicle for infotainment and safety," he continued. "And we're going to organize those abstractions as services." This will enable GM to more quickly develop and deploy updates, new features and apps to customers. In essence, Ultifi will serve a similar function as Android does on smartphones -- an API layer sitting between the underlying hardware and the end user. GM did note that Ultifi will run in conjunction with existing automotive OSes, such as Android Automotive, which GM announced in 2019 it would begin supporting.
General Motors is studying the possibility of an artificial intelligence voice assistant in future vehicles, according to the company. GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra, who was asked for details Tuesday by Fox Business channel anchor Liz Claman, referenced the company's Ultifi "end-to-end" vehicle software platform. "It's one of many things we can put on the vehicle. The vehicle really is a software platform and starting in 2019, General Motors started rolling out vehicles where you could do over-the-air updates for almost every module in the vehicle," Barra said, in an interview that touched on artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles and a current production shutdown tied to supply chain issues at one of GM's truck plants. "Having an assistant with a voice that's clear enough where you can ask questions and get answers, I think that's what the artificial intelligence will enable us to do," Barra said, noting that "we'll be able to make your car better as you own it."
GM and Cadillac drivers have spent traveled than 10 million miles with their hands in their laps since General Motors introduced its Super Cruise driver assist system back in 2017. On Wednesday, the company unveiled its next-generation hands-free system -- one that GM claims will "ultimately enable hands-free driving in 95 percent of all driving scenarios" -- dubbed, Ultra Cruise. What sets Ultra Cruise apart from similar systems, such as Ford's BlueCruise, is that Ultra is designed to work virtually everywhere in the US and Canada. At launch, the system is expected to work on 2 million miles of North American roads -- that includes highways, city and subdivision streets, and paved rural roads -- and will eventually expand to encompass some 3.4 million miles of asphalt. If you've just bought a Super Cruise-enabled vehicle (or are planning to buy one of the 22 models GM will have available by 2023), don't worry, it's not going anywhere.
Matt Hicks, Red Hat's new CEO, doesn't have the background of your typical chief executive. He studied computer hardware engineering in college. He began his career as an IT consultant at IBM. And instead of jumping into management at Red Hat, Hicks started at the open-source software business in 2006 as a developer on the IT team. His on-the-ground experience, however, is one of his core assets as the company's new leader, Hicks says.
General Motors has hired a former Apple executive to help it develop in-vehicle software features for car buyers. GM announced Tuesday that Mike Abbott, the former vice president of engineering for Apple's cloud services division, will join GM as executive vice president of software starting May 22. Abbott will report to CEO Mary Barra. "His team will be responsible for the entire software ecosystem, from inception and development of both consumer and enterprise solutions through to the delivery of new exciting digital services and features," GM spokesman Darryll Harrison told the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network. Harrison said some of the features and services that Abbott's team will deliver will be subscriptions and some will be standard offerings. GM is looking to generate more income through subscription-based services.