GMC's All-Electric Hummer Runs Unreal Engine


(Image: Epic Games)

Epic Games offers its Unreal Engine for a wide-range of gaming platforms including PC, consoles, and mobile devices. However, the game engine powering Fortnite is also coming to vehicles, with GMC being the first to use it in the all-electric Hummer.

Jumping into vehicle interfaces just as the world is going electric makes a lot of sense for Epic. Cars are full of cameras and sensors now, and manufacturers need to convey the information they produce quickly and clearly to the driver. Epic refers to this as the human-machine interface (HMI) and it intends to use Unreal Engine to “build a new experience” for drivers to interact with.

With that in mind, Epic officially announced its human-machine interface initiative this week, but the big reveal will happen on Oct. 20 when the all-electric Hummer launches complete with an Unreal-powered digital cockpit. It’s a system Epic wants other vehicle manufacturers to use, and it’s already got the tools to support it through a visual scripting system (Blueprints) and C++ codebase, both well-known to game developers, but tweaked for vehicle interfaces. It also helps that Unreal Engine already works on iOS and Android, which should make linking a car to a phone relatively easy work for car makers.

Epic already has a dedicated HMI team and “new alliances” are being formed with Blackberry, QNX, Mapbox, Qualcomm, Siili Auto and Vectorform. Gamification and entertainment are also key areas the company intends to pursue in vehicles, especially with level 5 autonomy coming down the line. We should expect to hear and see a lot more about Unreal Engine for cars later this year and into 2021.

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