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Just last year, Cruise Automation was acquired by General Motors, and today, it is the self-driving startup that is gobbling up companies on its own. General Motors is stepping their game up once more. To make things easier for them when it comes to the development of autonomous cars, they decided to acquire California-based Strobe, Inc. Not a lot of you may have heard of this company, but Strobe specializes in LiDAR technology, and that is a huge step forward for companies who are into autonomous systems for automobiles. After the acquisition, Strobe engineers will become part of the automaker’s Cruise Automation team.
Julie Schoenfeld, Founder and CEO of Strobe, Inc., said in a statement that the successful deployment of self-driving vehicles will have to depend on the availability of LiDAR sensors. Furthermore, GM and Cruise will benefit from Strobe’s deep engineering talent and technology backed by a number of patents. And hopefully, the automaker brings these autonomous vehicles sooner than we would think.
LiDAR is different from radar systems because the former uses laser pulses to “see” an area, whereas the latter relies on radar systems to do the same thing. And the LiDAR, as we know, is much more detailed as it creates a better picture of its surroundings, which translates to a more accurate processing of information. In other words, the LiDAR system can see a more realistic picture of what’s around it - from cars, pedestrians, and the road. Therefore, the LiDAR systems will play a pivotal role in the current and future development of autonomous cars. However, radars and LiDARs can complement each other to create a more robust and fault-tolerant sensing suite, operating in a wide range of environmental and lighting conditions.Read the entire article GM gets closer to producing fully autonomous vehicles with acquisition of Strobe Inc.
General Motors has teamed up with OnStar and IBM to create another technological innovation in the automotive world. The OnStar Go, General Motor’s new cognitive mobility platform, aims to help its customers “connect and interact” and purchase items even when on the go.
OnStar Go will make use of the IBM Watson, IBM’s artificial intelligence software and tech platform that reveals various requested data with the use of natural language processing and machine learning. It will then go through the data to identify patterns in the driver’s preferences including their decisions and habits; this information will then be sent to brand and marketing professionals who work with IBM and OnStar for them to provide individualized location-based interactions with their target audience and customers. In short, OnStar Go will provide in-car advertising in each GM model.
This new technology will be making its way in future GM models, and will be the equivalent of a Google Assistant or Siri. It will serve the same purpose as these smartphone assistants, suggesting nearby restaurant offers and even locate the nearest gas station.Read the entire article GM teams with IBM to create new OnStar Go cognitive mobility platform in 2017
In a bid to streamline its various processes in racing engine design enhancements and its eventual application to production car models, General Motors recently announced the opening of its all new GM Powertrain Performance and Racing Center. Located in the Pontiac, Michigan campus, the new facility will house the soon-to-be relocated Performance and Racing team currently housed in their Racing Center in Wixom, Michigan facility.
The new center is part of the $200 million investment of the Pontiac campus and is now directly connected to GM’s Global Powertrain Engineering Center. Comprised of nearly 100 engineers, engine builders and support staff, the Performance and Racing team is mainly responsible for developing new engine designs for NASCAR, NHRA, IndyCar, and IMSA, among others. On the other hand, the Global Powertrain Engineering group is in charge for the production of powertrains for production vehicles.
Dan Nicholson, VP for General Motors Global Powertrain applauds the move. Nicholson observes that with the two divisions within easy reach, the set up offers faster communication between racing engineers and powertrain engineers allowing faster integration of racing tested new technologies to mainstream vehicle production. Nicholson added that “we race to win and learn” which means that racing ultimately benefits the end customers with better performing and safer vehicles.Read the entire article GM opens performance and racing center
Starting 2017, Cadillac vehicles will be offered with an advanced intelligent and connected driver assist technology called Super Cruise, while the 2017MY CTS will be offered with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology. The announcement was made by GM CEO Marry Barra during her keynote address at the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) World Congress in Detroit.
According to the official press release, Super Cruise will offer a new type of driving experience which includes hands-off lane following, braking and speed control but everything will be available in certain highway conditions. This means that you won’t become a lazy passenger yet and you will need to take the wheel if the weather is bad.
The new technology has one advantage: it will increase comfort on freeways or in bumper-to-bumper traffic and long road trips. Meanwhile, the V2V communication technology could help drivers avoid traffic collisions and improve traffic congestion by sending and receiving safety information between the vehicles that are approaching each other.Read the entire article GM announces Super Cruise and V2V technologies for 2017MY Cadillac vehicles
General Motors is making excellent use of its inventions to build and equip cars and trucks. In fact, GM is using a patent for an industry-first aluminum welding process on the 2014 Corvette Stingray. GM is also using a lightweight shape memory alloy wire to open and close the Corvette Stingray’s hatch vent. According to The Patent Board, General Motors led the auto and transportation industries in patents granted for the 10th consecutive quarter covering July to September 2013.
GM received 1,672 US patents in 2013 applied to global product engineering, powertrain engineering, manufacturing, research and development and OnStar organizations. Toyota is close second, with 176 less than what GM received. “Breakthrough technologies like aluminum welding and shape memory alloys show how GM is leveraging its intellectual property for real-world applications,” said Jon Lauckner, GM chief technology officer, vice president of Global R&D and president of GM Ventures.
He said that commercializing patented inventions -- like game-changing vehicle features and manufacturing processes -- reflects GM’s commitment to innovation. Aluminum welding has allowed increased use of aluminum to trim vehicle weight, thereby helping improve fuel economy and boosting performance.Read the entire article GM is using more patented tech on its vehicles
General Motors knows that knowing how competing products work is key to further improvements in its own offerings and processes. That is why its Competitive Benchmarking team exists. The team does its job in a high tech way using red, white and blue scanning lights to mathematically capture precise 3D images of vehicle structures and components of competing vehicles.
The team strategically selects vehicles that are all-new or feature industry-first systems and technologies and scans them accordingly – a process that is repeated for around three dozen times a year. Once the scans are completed, they become reverse-engineered computer models that will be compared to GM designs.
The results of the benchmarking process help drive cost and mass reductions as well as quality improvements in GM vehicles -- Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. The Competitive Benchmarking team is also tasked with dismantling and scanning GM vehicles in order to validate parts, quality check manufacturing processes and troubleshoot part irregularities.Read the entire article GM uses 3D scanning tech to compare competing products
General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are taking separate routes as they to capture innovative ideas and technology that could bring change to the auto industry. Both Detroit-based carmakers are intending to develop and use a similar range of advanced technologies that many believes, particularly those from Silicon Valley, could become game-changers.
However, GM's approach is centered on venture capital, which is money provided to early-stage, high-potential yet high-risk startups. Adopting a practice common in Silicon Valley, GM set up a corporate venture capital group in 2010, which since has been providing early-stage funding to entrepreneurs and startup firms in sectors that include advanced materials to alternate fuels.
These startups are typically those who have the potential to develop a new technology that could be critical to a carmaker's growth. Once the technology becomes fully developed, a carmaker has the option to adopt it to use on its models, thus becoming that startup's first customer.Read the entire article GM and Ford taking different venture capital routes to capture innovative technology
General Motors has just announced that it will join forces with Honda in order to develop a common system for fuel cell vehicles. The new partnership is planning to get the system on cars by 2020, according to the official press release. For those who don’t know, GM and Honda are both pioneers of fuel cell technology and the new partnership will cut development costs by consolidating their supplier bases for fuel cell components.
According to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index, GM and Honda rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in total fuel cell patents filed between 2002 and 2012, with more than 1,200 between them. Back in 2007 GM launched the Project Driveaway program, which accumulated almost 3 million miles of real-world driving in a fleet of over 119 hyrdrogen-powered vehicles.
Honda began leasing the FCX in 2002 and since then, it deployed 85 units in the United States and Japan, including its successor, the FCX Clarity, which was named the 2009 World Green Car. Fuel cell vehicles are able to operate on renewable hydrogen made from sources like wind and biomass. The only emission from these vehicles is water vapor. Regarding the range, fuel cell vehicles are able travel up to 400 miles and can be refueled in about 3 minutes.Read the entire article GM joins forces with Honda on next-generation fuel cell technologies
General Motors has teamed up with researchers at the new National Tire Research Center in Virginia to boost fuel economy by developing new tire technology. GM released a statement last week to say that tire design could improve fuel efficiency by up to 7 percent. Some of the factors that affect the tire’s rolling resistance are variations in tread pattern, construction and material quality.
If a vehicle has a lower rolling resistance, it needs less fuel to move the vehicle forward. Customers will be able to save on gasoline by using tires with lower rolling resistance, as well as more efficient conventional engines and electric powertrains.
GM had contributed $5 million to the National Tire Research Center. The statement said further that automakers and tire manufacturers will be able to simulate real-world emergencies and boost highway safety with the most advanced tire performance machines.
The center owns tire performance test equipment that costs as much as $11.2 million. The equipment, known as the Flat-Trac LTRe, can make a tire run to as fast as 200 mph and offer information on handling, ride, torque and braking capabilities. GM and other auto engineers from the Flat-Trac LTRe could generate data that will be able to predict vehicle performance for low rolling resistance, improved road-handling capability and other criteria.Read the entire article GM partners with National Tire Research Center to develop new tire technology
General Motors is testing a thermal-forming process and proprietary corrosion resistance treatment for lightweight magnesium sheet metal that will enable the increased use of this alternative to steel and aluminum. GM is aiming to increase its use of low-mass components on vehicles around the world and is intending to pursue licensing opportunities related to this breakthrough technology.
The carmaker’s goal is to enable its parts suppliers to use the process to provide significant amounts of magnesium sheet that will cut more weight from vehicle mass. The lightweight magnesium -- which weighs 33% less than aluminum, 60% less than titanium, and 75% less than steel – is expected to help customers save more money on fuel, just like the benefits brought by efficient conventional engines and electric powertrains.
Carmakers have been struggling to create strong yet reliable non-corroding magnesium sheet metal panels using traditional panel forming methods. But GM’s patented process heats up the magnesium to 450 degrees Celsius (842 degrees Fahrenheit), allowing the material to be molded into precise, rigid shapes.Read the entire article GM develops thermal-forming process for molding magnesium metal
There is a driver assistance feature being developed by General Motors that could spot pedestrians and bicyclists on crowded streets or in poor visibility conditions before the driver detects them. This feature makes use of Wi-Fi Direct, the peer-to-peer wireless standard that enables devices such as some smartphones to directly communicate with each other instead of through a shared access point such as a cell phone tower.
GM researchers have found out that Wi-Fi Direct can be incorporated with other sensor-based object detection and driver alert systems that have already been offered on production vehicles to help spot pedestrians and bicyclists that carry smartphones featuring Wi-Fi Direct.
GM is also hoping to make a complementary app for Wi-Fi Direct-capable smartphones that may be downloaded by frequent road users like “bike messenger” or “construction worker” who will aid Wi-Fi Direct-equipped vehicles to recognize them.Read the entire article GM working on Wireless Pedestrian Detection Technology
It’s not probable that the advanced technology in environment-friendly cars such as General Motors' Chevy Volt and PSA Peugeot Citroen's 3008 HYbrid4 would be shared between the two companies because of the alliance, according to Opel development chief Rita Forst.
At a recent industry conference in Munich, Forst said that she can’t imagine that any of the two companies would produce cars that use the other’s technology. According to industry experts, halo products such as the Opel Ampera extended range hybrid electric vehicle (which is sold in the U.S. as the Volt) is vital for the brand to be able to exhibit leadership and innovation.
In addition, these products help to boost demand for core volume models since customers would go to showrooms to look at the Ampera or the 3008 diesel hybrid but they would instead buy the less expensive Opel Astra or Peugeot 208. Toyota's Prius, the first full hybrid that has achieved commercial success, contributed in the transformation of the automaker’s image from being a latecomer in the development of future trends into one of the greenest brands in the industry.Read the entire article Report: GM will not share its advanced hybrid technology with Peugeot
General Motors is planning to offer a navigation application dubbed GogoLink, which streams through an iPhone or Android gadget and displays the system on the vehicle's seven-inch MyLink infotainment screen. For an additional price of $50, the GogoLink offer a navigation system that runs through the vehicle's infotainment system, making it an industry first.
This industry first could also spell the end for pricey navigation systems that are available for thousands of dollars. Drivers have been shunning pricey navigation systems, since they could get the same results from their smartphones or iPhones with GPS systems that cost only hundreds of bucks.
However, there is a downside with using a navigation system on a smartphone or iPhone – the driver would view the information on the gadget’s small screen. The iPhone only offers a 3.5 inch screen and other phone models offer a screen size just a bit larger.Read the entire article GM is offering GoGoLink phone-based navigation app for just $50
Talks are ongoing between BMW and General Motors about the possibility of collaborating on future technologies. BMW is also considering extending its cooperation with PSA Peugeot Citroen on gasoline engines. At the Geneva Auto Show, BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer told reporters that the luxury automaker “can imagine" having a cooperation partner in North America.
Reithofer didn’t give details on what particular areas the talks were centered on. He emphasized that Peugeot also has several partners for cooperation, a strategy that BMW is using too. On Feb. 29, a global alliance was entered between GM and Europe's second biggest auto manufacturer. This permitted GM to own a 7% stake in Peugeot.
The poor sales and overcapacity in Europe have put the French car maker and Opel-Vauxhall (GM's European division) at a far from ideal position. Reithofer said that Peugeot’s tie-up with GM doesn’t affect the French firm’s joint venture with BMW. It also doesn’t have an impact on projects for the joint production to make 4-cylinder gasoline engines. He pointed out that it’s possible that when contracts expire in 2015, the cooperation would be extended. [source: Reuters]Read the entire article Bmw, GM may collaborate on future technologies
Ok, we know that the rear seats entertaining systems can be a little bit boring but what you will see now can be the future and can make us forget about DVD players and PSPs. GM Research announced today that it currently developing new ways to help rear seat passengers, particularly children, have a richer experience on the road. Dubbed Windows of Opportunity (WOO) Project, this was inspired by psychological studies indicating car passengers often feel disconnected from their environment. Still, don’t expect to see this new application on the production cars!
What GM wants to show is that windows can offer more than a boring fields and buildings. “Traditionally, the use of interactive displays in cars has been limited to the driver and front passenger, but we see an opportunity to provide a technology interface designed specifically for rear seat passengers,” said Tom Seder, GM R&D lab group manager for human-machine interface. “Advanced windows that are capable of responding to vehicle speed and location could augment real world views with interactive enhancements to provide entertainment and educational value.”
The apps include: Otto, an animated character projected over passing scenery that responds to real-time car performance, weather and landscape. With Otto, passengers can learn about their environment in fun, playful ways.Foofu, an app that allows passengers to create, explore and discover through finger drawing on window steam.Read the entire article GM exploring new ways of rear seats entertainment using windows
General Motors engineers wanted to eliminate the screeching sound produced by brakes. They are now developing a quieter brake technology that would put an end to the source of frustration for many car owners and automotive technicians who want to find a solution for the noise from this otherwise normally functioning brake.
To absorb the vibrations and keep it quiet, this GM-patented design called the Coulomb friction-damped disc brake that features a thin ring of metal embedded in the brake rotor.
It is named after Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, the 18th century physicist who came up with the friction-based damping mechanism. GM will use this quieter brake technology with a corrosion resistant brake technology on over 80% of GM’s U.S. vehicles by model year 2016. This may save customers over $400 in over 10 years.Read the entire article GM working on a new disc brake to eliminate brake squeal
General Motors is developing a new type of vehicle-to-vehicle communication, dubbed as the V2V, which can be implemented either from in-car hardware or from an app installed on a driver’s smartphone. This way, the vehicles share information on traffic or road hazards. These two methods use Dedicated Short Range Communications, a type of wireless networking.
Travel speeds can be communicated through these devices. This means that when a vehicle at the front communicates that it is stuck in traffic, other drivers can adjust the speeds and routes to avoid the same problem.
The transmitted information could transfer from car to car and will vary depending on what carmakers want to transmit to other vehicles. For example, a vehicle that uses traction control or ESP could notify other vehicles of potentially slippery conditions ahead. V2V could also permit drivers to adjust speeds to avoid getting stuck at red lights.Read the entire article General Motors working on a new type of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication
A center airbag will be introduced by General Motors on the 2013 Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Traverse crossovers. This airbag will be positioned between the front seats and it is intended to protect the driver and front passenger in side-impact crashes. It is placed on the right side of the driver's seat. In the event of a side-impact crash, the airbag inflates between the front seats.
This safety feature will be available as standard on all Enclaves as well as on Acadia and Traverse models with power seats.
According to the fatality analysis reporting system database of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, side-impact crashes make up 11% of the belted front occupant deaths in nonrollover impacts between 2004 and 2009. The impacts affected 1999 model or newer vehicles. GM said that in 29% of all the belted front occupant fatalities in side impacts, the occupant was on the nonstruck side of the vehicle.Read the entire article GM introduces industry’s first front center airbag
General Motors’ future cars will be fitted with Stop-Start technology to cut their fuel consumption, Detroit News stated in a recent report. The Stop-Start Technology works by shutting down the engine if the car completely stops. It’s restarted instantly as soon as the driver lifts the foot off the brake pedal -- on automatic gearbox cars.
But for the manual transmission ones, the engine turns back on when the clutch is engaged. GM’s system has been dubbed eAssist.
It will be offered as standard on all 2012 versions of the four-cylinder engine that power the Buick LaCrosse sedan. On the 2012 Buick Regal, this system is offered as an option.Read the entire article GM will use Stop-Start technology on future cars to reduce fuel consumption
Even though General Motors is in the middle of an economic crisis with rising prices and falling sales, it is determined to continue development of a series of plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Currently, GM's most advertized attempt in the plug-in hybrid sphere has its source in the Chevrolet Volt, which is anticipated to aid GM turn its misfortunes around with a completely green car.
Though, the plug-in technology utilized in the Volt will not be limited to the small car class, or even to the Chevrolet brand, as GM is determined to take advantage of its investment in the technology by putting it into service in a number of vehicles that span its brand range.Read the entire article GM preparing several models based on the Volt plug-in technology
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