General Motors and Red Hat Collaborate to Trailblaze the Future of Software-Defined Vehicles
Updated: May 13, 2022
General Motors and Red Hat Inc. have announced a collaboration to help advance software-defined vehicles at the edge. The companies expect to expand an ecosystem of innovation around the Red Hat In-Vehicle Operating System, which provides a functional-safety certified Linux operating system foundation intended for the ongoing evolution of GM’s Ultifi software platform.
GM says the collaboration between Red Hat and GM is a significant moment in the convergence of the transportation and technology industries. Red Hat's cloud-native, the enterprise-grade open-source operating system will accelerate the development of GM’s software-defined vehicle programs following Ultifi’s initial launch. This will enable both companies to offer customers more valuable features responsibly and reliably in a fraction of the typical development time.
“General Motors is now a platform company and working with Red Hat is a critical element in advancing our Ultifi software development,” said Scott Miller, GM vice president, Software-Defined Vehicle and Operating System. “Incorporating the company’s expertise in open source solutions and enterprise networks will pay dividends as we aim to provide the most developer-friendly software platform in the industry. With Red Hat’s operating system as a core enabler of Ultifi’s capabilities, the opportunity for innovation becomes limitless.”
In-vehicle software systems are complex and require high levels of cybersecurity protection and stringent certifications due to critical safety priorities. These robust requirements can lengthen the development process in current systems and make vehicle software updates difficult, with each update requiring recertification. Together, GM and Red Hat intend to make these complex vehicle updates more straightforward and more frequent by implementing continuous functional-safety certification into the Ultifi platform with Red Hat In-Vehicle Operating System pioneering the continuous certification approach, announced last year.
“With millions of lines of code sustaining critical systems like driver assistance, fuel economy and more, modern vehicles are more like mobile high performance computers than the cars of the past. The time to innovate is now,” said Francis Chow, Red Hat vice president and general manager, In-Vehicle Operating System and Edge. “These new vehicles give our industries a chance to create a common open platform without sacrificing functional safety. By collaborating with GM on the Red Hat In-Vehicle Operating System, we intend to bring the era of open source to the automotive world, benefiting automakers, ecosystem partners, and consumers.”
The integrated software is expected to support a variety of in-vehicle safety- and non-safety-related applications, including infotainment, advanced driver assistance systems, body control and connectivity. The transportation industry can benefit from faster innovation and better sustainability through standardization with open-source Linux and cloud-native technologies, and GM intends to lead with Red Hat. Common standards can help increase software reuse and achieve a more scalable design process, giving GM the ability to dedicate more resources toward new personalized in-cabin experiences, vehicle modes and other features customers will enjoy.
With the integration of the Red Hat In-Vehicle Operating System into the Ultifi platform, GM and Red Hat look to achieve:
Reduced costs from consolidation and reuse of software across a common platform
An improved development cycle for faster time-to-market with new customer features and software improvements
A continuous functional-safety certification for systems related to safety applications
Creation of new services, business models and revenue streams
Red Hat will contribute to the phased rollout of Ultifi, GM’s end-to-end vehicle software platform, which will launch in 2023. Ultifi will enable more frequent and seamless delivery of software-defined features, apps and services to customers over the air. To do this, the platform separates the application software from the hardware to offer application program interfaces for software development. Creating a more flexible architecture unlocks the potential for more cloud-based services, faster software development, and new customer value without affecting basic hardware controls.
As a Linux-based system, Ultifi is designed to be universally usable for GM developers, suppliers and the developer community. Using Linux allows for skilled talent from many industries to quickly get up to speed and bolster innovation through nontraditional thinking. With numerous sensors and rich amounts of anonymized data, vehicle software presents a uniquely exciting opportunity for developers to work beyond the limits of typical consumer smart devices. In fact, authorized third-party developers who meet strict security, safety and privacy standards will be given access to innovate on Ultifi to benefit GM customers directly.