Epic Games announced in the fall of 2020 its intention to enter the automotive world by designing interfaces for car screens and based on Unreal Engine, its rendering engine used in many games. A surprising idea at first glance, but which makes sense when you consider that cars increasingly rely on sophisticated interfaces which can require a lot of computing power. After Hummer, the second partnership comes this time from Volvo, which intends to add a dose of 3D thanks to this technology.
The partnership between Epic Games and Volvo Cars concerns future electric models of this brand which now belongs to the Chinese giant Geely. The Unreal Engine will serve to improve two different points: on the one hand, the visualization of the car itself on the screens, which will be in 3D and of better quality; the interface displayed on the screens on the other hand, which should again gain in quality and fluidity. Details are meager, Volvo is content to promise “impressive, high-quality” graphics, with 3D animations, more vivid colors and refined renderings.
Quite a program, with the addition of a second partner to make everything smooth: Volvo Cars will call on Qualcomm and integrate a Snapdragon chip in these models. Enough to offer an infotainment system twice as fast as the current one, based on Android Automotive in the brand’s latest electric cars. Nothing prohibits besides to preserve this base, at least in theory, the operating system of Google being able to be adapted by each manufacturer in particular to modify the interface.
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Volvo has stepped up its car software efforts with a dedicated team that will create “VolvoCars.OS”. This is not a new operating system however, the idea of the manufacturer is rather to unify under the same name all the experiences offered in its cars, regardless of the underlying operating system. We do not yet know how Epic Games and its Unreal Engine will exactly fit into this set.
One thing is certain: Volvo, champion of safety for decades, does not intend to distract with its screens while driving. The manufacturer thus explains that it will seek a balance to offer more sophisticated animations without reinforcing distractions and also without overloading the screens, to prevent them from becoming unreadable. We should know more in the coming months, the company has planned to inaugurate this new interface with an electric vehicle which should be presented by the end of the year.