Archive for the ‘General Motors (GM)’ Category

PostHeaderIcon What Does the Future Hold For GM Trucks? Will the Company Be Able to Compete With Tesla and Rivian?

We are a little befuddled listening to what Mary Barra had to say about GM producing an all-electric truck. Who’s Mary Barra? Well, she is the CEO of General Motors and. when asked about doing an electric pickup truck to compete with Tesla’s upcoming pickup, she did not have any answer and just commented, ‘stay tuned.’ Stay tuned to watch GM go down?

PostHeaderIcon Here’s All You Need To Know About GM’s Major Restructuring

General Motors is in the midst of major restructuring, which it confirmed by announcing that five of its North American plants will be shut down, including the plant in Ohio that manufactured the Cruze and the Detroit-Hamtramck plant that was once part of an epic neighborhood battle. This also marks the end of the Chevrolet Volt Hybrid. However, the biggest announcement was that around 14,000 employees have been given pink slips.

PostHeaderIcon New Autonomous Vehicle Rules On the Way

Autonomous vehicles might be exempt in the future from some of the safety standards put in place by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) if changes that accommodate this new type of road vehicle sees the light of day.

Automotive giants such as GM have called for legislative changes that would allow “the full deployment of self-driving vehicles” which, at the moment, have to be equipped with a steering wheel, pedals, and mirrors, although autonomous cars don’t have a driver.

As such, The NHTSA “intends to reconsider the necessity and appropriateness of its current safety standards” as applied to automated vehicles, the U.S. Department of Transportation said in an 80-page update of its principles dubbed “Automated Vehicles 3.0.”

PostHeaderIcon General Motors and Honda Collaborate On Autonomous Technology

A lot of partnerships are arising these days. It’s not just automakers and tech companies, but also automakers and automakers. This time, it’s General Motors and Honda teaming up to take on the world with Autonomous Technology. General Motors and Cruise Automation announced collaboration with Japanese giant, Honda that will seek “large-scale deployment” of technology for autonomous vehicles.

PostHeaderIcon GM and Delta America’s Working on a EV Charging System That Provides 180 Miles in 10 Minutes

Chevrolet Volt

We all know how amazing electric vehicles have become lately, with every mainstream manufacturer trying to include at least one or two EVs in their line-up. But there’s one glaring disadvantage that is perhaps the biggest reason for gas-powered vehicles to not have gone extinct yet – the time it takes to recharge batteries. In the case of combustion-powered vehicles, you can get set to travel for the next 200 miles in a matter of a minute, but that’s not possible in case of EVs – until now. General Motors is in collaboration with Delta America to develop a technology that can overcome this drawback, and it blows Tesla’s technology out of the water!

PostHeaderIcon Now GM and Marketers Want to Force Feed Advertisements Via Your Car Windows

As if there weren’t enough commercials in your life already, it looks as though automakers might be gearing up to bring advertisements directly to your face with the latest augmented-reality-equipped car windows.

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PostHeaderIcon GM’s First Self-Driving Vehicle Could Carry the Name AV1

It’s no secret General Motors is working hard to create its own fully autonomous vehicle, and now, it looks as though the domestic auto-making behemoth could be gearing up for a big reveal before we know it.

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PostHeaderIcon Ford is Hatin’ on GM’s Nine-Speed Automatic; Says It’s Too Inefficient and Too Expensive to Adapt

Five years ago, Ford and GM entered in a partnership whereby the two U.S. auto behemoths would share a few newly developed transmissions, all in the name of greater efficiency and lower R&D costs. Now, it’s looking like Ford will take a different approach than originally outlined, adapting the GM gearbox to better suit its needs.

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PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: GM’s Decision to Fire Johan De Nysschen Might Have Been a Big Mistake

Cadillac just fired president Johan de Nysschen, four years after it brought him in from Infiniti to revive the luxury brand. The news made headlines all over the world and sparked debates on whether the brand will do better without de Nysschen. The consensus seems to be that he made a string of bad decisions and that Steve Carlisle might be the man who will make things right. Well, I disagree.

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PostHeaderIcon GM Has a Patent for an External Pedestrian Air Bag

Over the month of December, GM was granted more than 80 patents and, according to the Detroit Free Press, one of them was a patent for an external airbag that’s designed to “provide protection to a pedestrian.” GM isn’t the first company to take this route in order to protect those outside the vehicle, with Volvo being the
first brand that comes to mind with a similar system that was introduced in Europe. Unfortunately, Volvo says it comes in second to crash prevention technology like that found as standard or optional equipment on most modern cars.

The patent, according to FREEP, describes the airbag being located in the fender area, ahead of the side doors but adjacent to the hood. One would assume the airbag would deploy milliseconds before impact and encase the whole front end or, at the very least, cover the windshield. Why the windshield? Well, according to Maeva Ribas, the manager of design analysis at The Carlab, it’s not the initial impact that’s fatal to pedestrians, but the secondary impact that occurs as pedestrians pass over the hood and hit the A-Pillars or the other areas around the windshield.

And, to be clear, GM isn’t exactly sure what it wants to do with the technology. Tom Wilkerson, the safety communications spokesman for GM, said, “The pedestrian protection airbag could become an important engineering solution in the future.” While another spokesperson, Patrick Morrissey, said: “It’s a promising technology, but we have no specific production plans at this time.”

As you can see, it’s certainly something that GM is looking into, but it’s not necessarily something you’ll find on your 2020 Chevy Impala. As of now, GM has some 40,000+ patents on file, and this one could very well fade into the abyss, being used only as a method of protecting design options down the road. With that in mind, I wouldn’t rule it out quite yet – In 2015 alone, more than 5,000 pedestrians were killed by cars in the U.S. And, in 2016, the figure raised to nearly 6,000 – the largest increase in pedestrian fatalities on record. So, it’s an ongoing problem and, while the U.S. isn’t as strict as it could be on pedestrian protection, other markets are, and the U.S. could very easily follow suit.

What do you think? Should automakers focus more on preventing the collision altogether or should the focus be on preventing injury in the event of an accident? Should both technologies be put to use? Let us know in the comments section below.


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PostHeaderIcon 2019 GM Pickups May Have Carbon Fiber Beds

General Motors might be using carbon fiber construction within the cargo bed of its next-generation 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. The news comes from an insider close to GM who spoke with The Wall Street Journal. Apparently, GM will use the composite beds to save weight while adding strength. Only higher-end trims will be available with the composite box, though its availability could spread throughout the lineup.

The move would come as an alternative to aluminum, which Chevrolet has relentlessly poked fun at Ford for using with its 2015-current F-150. TV commercials and other ads have portrayed Ford’s aluminum beds as weaker than Chevy’s steel beds. Moving to carbon fiber would reduce the bed’s weight while providing more strength than aluminum – or so the insider says.

We can expect GM to debut its new pickups at the 2018 Detroit Auto show in January or the Chicago Auto Show in February. Sales will likely begin in the third or fourth quarter of 2018. GM hasn’t commented on the WSJ report or alluded to carbon fiber being present. There is also no word on whether the beds would be an extra-cost option or come as standard equipment on LTZ or High Country models. We should find out more in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to for the latest.

Continue reading for more information.

Is The Market Ready For This?

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“Moving to carbon fiber would reduce the bed’s weight while providing more strength than aluminum – or so the insider says.”

it might come as a surprise, but this won’t be GM’s first attempt at using alternative materials for cargo bed construction. Back in 2001, the Chevy Silverado 1500 was available with a composite (read: plastic) cargo box as an $850 option. It was called the Pro-Tec bed. Chevy barely advertised the feature but promoted the bed’s inability to rust or dent. The bean counters high in GM’s towers expected to sell 50,000 examples a year, but missed the mark by an insane margin; only 5,000 were sold in 2001 and another 5,000 in 2002. Chevy canned the Pro-Tec bed after just two years, despite the massive $64 million investment in design, development, plant expansion, and production equipment. It was a massive corporate blunder.

Hopefully, GM has been studying its history in order to not repeat the same mistakes. A lot could go wrong with a carbon fiber bed. The material is notoriously hard to produce relative to stamping steel or aluminum and the costs associated are far greater. Perhaps that’s why GM will only use the carbon fiber beds on high-end trims. That would allow fat-wallet customers to eat the development costs before making the bed available elsewhere in the lineup.

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Ram is also rumored to have some innovated bed technology coming, too. Its next-generation Ram 1500 will debut at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show and arrive in showrooms as a 2019 model. Patent drawings and spy photos show the Ram’s tailgate having a 60/40 vertical split, allowing for more customizable uses. The tailgate will open both in the traditional fold-down manner, along with swinging open like French doors. Only the Honda Ridgeline has something similar.

Advancements in bed design have been sorely lacking compared to innovations found elsewhere in modern trucks, so it will be nice to see two automakers debut new bed technologies side-by-side.

What do you think? Is carbon fiber a good choice for a pickup bed? Let us know in the comments below.


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PostHeaderIcon GM’s New In-Car Marketplace Could Lead to More Distracted Driving

General Motors’ grand idea to introduce an in-car digital marketplace is a good idea…on paper. It accomplishes what GM describes as the system does make it easier for us to order food, pay for coffee, or even redeem gas coupons. It’s actually a great idea if you’re a passenger in a car. It’s when you’re the driver of the car that the marketplace idea immediately turns sour.

“The system could also lead to more cases of distracted driving”

The idea of the Marketplace is what it says it is. It’s basically a digital shopping service that lets commuters make purchases from establishments like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Wingstop, TGI Fridays, IHOP, Shell, ExxonMobil, and Parkopedia, all while inside the car. The system is supposed to make our lives easier because we can now order food, reserve a hotel room, or pay for gas, even before we get to the establishments. In theory, the Marketplace could be useful in major cities like Los Angeles and Chicago where concepts like time and convenience are at a premium.

Unfortunately, the system could also lead to more cases of distracted driving. There’s no going around it. When you’re a driver, and you’re ordering something from Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks, there’s no scenario where you’re going to have your eyes fixated on the road. You’re going to look at the screen to see if you order is right, check to see how much it costs, and reach for your wallet to see if your cash situation. National Safety Council President Deborah Hersman hit it in the head when she told Bloomberg that there’s nothing about this system that’s safe. “If this is why they want Wi-Fi in the car, we’re going to see fatality numbers go up even higher than they are now,” she added.

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It’s hard to argue against her point. The system can work if passengers are the ones that use it, not the drivers.

For its part, General Motors’ claims that the system has measures in place to reduce the number of steps required to make a purchase from behind the steering wheel, making it a safer alternative to mobile phone use. It may be right in that sense, but just because it’s “safer” than mobile phone use, it doesn’t mean that it’s safe, to begin with.


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PostHeaderIcon Lord Help Us: GM Introduces In-Car Marketplace

As technology evolves we, as humans, become more and more physically disconnected from one another. GM is now pushing that one step further bring it’s new “Marketplace” commerce system to its infotainment systems. The system is designed to allow drivers to redeem gas coupons, order food, pay for coffee, pretty much anything you would usually have to get out of your car and interact with people to do now. GM has partnered with a few companies, including Dunkin’ Donuts, TGI Fridays, Shell, and ExxonMobil, among others. The system will be included in all new vehicles and updated OTA to vehicles on the road that are compatible. But, this isn’t all gravy as it will lead to things that aren’t so cool. Keep reading to find out more about GM’s new Marketplace and how it will ultimately be used to collect data and advertise.

GM’s Market Placing is Already Rolling Out

The Marketplace is designed to make your life easier, so you can order food on the go, reserve a hotel room, pay for or receive discounts on fuel, even find and pay for parking. Not a bad tool to have in some cases, especially if you live somewhere like Detroit, Chicago, or L.A. where parking not only comes at a premium but is also hard to find. It’ll even let you buy or extend your car’s 4G LTE packages and OnStar subscriptions. Gm has partnered with the following companies as of this system’s launch today:

GM Marketplace Partners as of December 2017
GM Lets customers buy 4G LTE Data packages, extend their OnStar subscription or receive offers for certified service, parts and accessories for their specific vehicle.
Starbucks Offers another convenient way for customers to order ahead and enjoy their favorite handcrafted beverage or food item. And as part of the Starbucks Rewards™ program, members enjoy more value by earning Rewards towards free food and drink. (Early 2018)
Dunkin’ Donuts Will help customers start their day off right through an experience that allows DD Perks members to preorder and pay onscreen for their favorite coffee and donut, at their preferred pickup location.
Wingstop Will allow you to skip the wait by re-ordering your favorites and paying ahead, so you can get home in time for the big game
TGI Fridays Will let customers schedule a table reservation for them and their closest friends and family when they need a break from the week.
Shell Will enable the exceptional driver experience, providing ease of payment and savings with INSTANT GOLD STATUS in the Fuel Rewards® program. Customers’ closest Shell station will be identified and station amenities showcased among the largest fuel station network in the U.S., with the ability to pay in-dash coming soon.
ExxonMobil Will quickly locate Exxon and Mobil fuel stations with details of what they offer, route you there and get you back on the road faster. Gives drivers access to hundreds of thousands of hotels and exclusive hotel savings on the go.
Parkopedia Allows drivers to find, reserve and pay for parking, all at the click of a button.
Applebee’s Ensures customers are never too far from Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood whether close to home or miles away with the ability to locate their nearest restaurant, order featured menu items and reorder recent favorites through the convenience of their vehicle’s touchscreen.
IHOP Makes it easy for guests to enjoy hot, fresh all-day breakfast favorites like fluffy buttermilk pancakes on the go, thanks to safe and secure on-dash ordering and location service capabilities that help search and find the nearest restaurant for pickup. empowers the neighborhood economy by enabling customers to order online from their favorite local restaurants, wine and spirits shops, grocery stores and laundry and dry-cleaning providers.

But, what appears good at first always has a downside, and this program (and those that will follow from other automakers) has a couple of big ones.

GM Marketplace Datamining

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“The Marketplace is designed to make your life easier, so you can order food on the go, reserve a hotel room, pay for or receive discounts on fuel, even find and pay for parking”

First of all, we haven’t been given a copy of the terms and conditions for GM’s Marketplace quite yet, however, I’m willing to bet that there is a clause in there that says they will collect and analyze data about your purchases, routines, trends, etc. It’s kind of hard not to have your data mined these days as being in a connected world naturally means that even if you try to opt out of everything, there’s still something sucking in your data – how do you think Google and Facebook know how to show you ads for something you were looking at twenty minutes ago? Yeah, you can thank data mining for that. Well, I have a feeling that when Marketplace comes to your GM vehicle the aforementioned companies, as well as any other data company that wants to get on board, will get bombarded with data of your every trip, purchase, choice in fuel, driving habits, and even what you listen to on the radio. That’s right folks; this is a connected world that we live in and your car is just another hub to the internet. If that isn’t bad enough, this data will eventually be used against you too…

GM Marketplace Selective and Suggestive Advertising

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So, now that we know GM will likely be farming your data, you should know that it’ll be put to good use as well. I’ve already mentioned what kind of data the Marketplace will likely collect, things like choice in fuel brands, where you travel to regularly, the types of purchases you make, and even the stores you frequent most. But, what will GM do with that data aside from selling it? Well, it will use that data to provide forced and suggestive advertising. Basically, it’s the same thing that Facebook and Google do now. If you go to a Shell station, for example, your infotainment system will likely display deals and sales from each station you’re near whenever you’re near them – a way to suggest you stop and spend your hard-earned dollar. Driving past an electronics store? Well, your infotainment system will be sure to show you that the new MacBook is on sale for $100 off. Gas gauge getting below a quarter-tank? Marketplace will tell you that Shell of ExxonMobil is $0.02 cheaper than the next gas station. What’s more is the fact that since you connect your phone to the infotainment system, it will be able to pull your browsing history and provide advertisements based on what you’ve browsed in the past few days – just like everywhere else on the internet. Yeah, that’s where we’re going folks, and it’s only going to get worse. Welcome to the future!


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PostHeaderIcon General Motors Launches New Military Defense Division Called GM Defense

The U.S. Military now has a new supplier of vehicles and futuristic technology. General Motors announced its creation of a special division within the company designed to cater to military hardware, designed both by GM and in conjunction with the specific needs of the military. It’s called GM Defense LLC and is already working with the U.S. Army and Navy with at least three projects. According to a report by Automotive News, GM officials say GM Defense is “helping GM better anticipate and react to the diverse needs of global aerospace and defense customers.”

GM Defense’s latest project is SURUS, or the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure. The hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle is fully autonomous and has a nearly limitless number of configurations thanks to its flat top designed to accept various accessory components like personnel cabs, cargo containers, and even mobile command and hospital pods. Preceding SURUS is GM Defense’ hydrogen fuel cell-powered Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, a modified Colorado mid-size pickup designed as a support vehicle for the U.S. Army. Both SURUS and the ZH2 boast silent operation with no smells or emissions, which are perfect for sensitive combat operations.

Continue reading for more on GM Defense LLC.

GM’s New Military Division

“GM’s first hydrogen-powered vehicle for the military is an unmanned underwater drone for the U.S. Navy”

GM Defense LLC resides under GM’s Global Product Development arm, which is headed by Mark Reuss. Charlie Freese, the executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business, will oversee GM Defense LLC.

“This new business structure will enhance GM’s productivity, agility, and affordability in a very dynamic customer environment,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business, in an emailed statement to Automotive News. “Our goal is to make it simpler and more seamless to do business with General Motors.”

GM’s first hydrogen-powered vehicle for the military is an unmanned underwater drone for the U.S. Navy. The Navy is looking into hydrogen-powered drones for expended missions spanning weeks or months at a time.

Of course, this isn’t the first time General Motors has worked directly with the U.S. military. GM had a defense division from 1950 to 2003, similarly named General Motors Defense. That division was sold to General Dynamics. Its products include vehicles like the CUCV K5 Chevrolet Blazer; CUVC Chevrolet K10, K20, and K30 Pickups (prior to the Silverado name); the newer LSSV Chevrolet Tahoe and Silverado; and the eight-wheeled Stryker armored fighting vehicle.


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PostHeaderIcon GM Developing Autonomous, Fuel Cell, Multi-Use Platform Called SURUS

General Motors has thought outside the box on this one. Meet SURUS, a fully autonomous platform with 4WD and four-wheel steering powered by a fuel cell. Its name stands for “Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure,” and it’s GM’s latest joint project with the United States Army. Unlike diesel-powered trucks, the SURUS produces no noise, smell, or by-product besides purified water. It also isn’t confined to any one job. With a completely bare deck, GM can attach anything from a cab-over crew compartment or a shipping container. Thanks to its fully autonomous driving capability, it doesn’t need a driver and therefore doesn’t need a dedicated cab. This frees up the entire platform to accept an endless number of compatible up-fits.

“SURUS redefines fuel cell electric technology for both highway and off-road environments,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business. “General Motors is committed to bringing new high-performance, zero-emission systems to solve complex challenges for a variety of customers.” GM is currently readying the SURUS for testing, both with the U.S. military and in commercial applications. SURUS is GM’s second vehicle study of fuel cell applications for the military in recent months. Back in April, the Army began evaluating a fuel cell-powered Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 concept pickup as a possible addition to its field operations. Fuel Cells have the distinct advantage of silent operation while being able to produce electricity for base camp operations with purified water as the only by-product.

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Why It Matters

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General Motors’ SURUS platform offers boundless possibilities in terms of mobility and reconfigurability. Add to that the SURUS’ ability to drive and operate in a follow-the-leader style convoy all without a driver. The military could use the SURUS platform to deliver hospital units to disaster areas one day, National Guard troops the next day, and haul debris away the next day – all by simply changing what’s riding on top.

While this style of platform might not take off with the general public, private sector businesses could also employ the SURUS to handle a variety of jobs without having to purchase multiple vehicles. The possibilities are literally endless, all without changing the chassis or mechanical workings. How cool is that?


Chevrolet Colorado

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PostHeaderIcon GM Might Regret Saying it Would Take Blame For Autonomous Car Accidents

So, GM say’s it’ll take the heat for crashes involving its level 3 autonomous cars. That’s cool and the gang, but it’s quite possible that the brand spoke a little too soon and it could really come back to bite it right in the ass. How so? Well, when you consider that the month of September alone came with a total of six accidents involving GM’s Cruise Automation Division autonomous cars in the great state of California. To add a bit of an ironic twist, Cruise – which is a division of GM – says none of its cars were actually at fault…. Hmmmm what shoulder are they putting that blame on? After all, there have been 13 accidents involving these cars in California this year too… Okay, maybe we’re talking a little too early here to point out those ironies. According to Cruise, most of the incidents involved drivers of other cars (yes, human, and not AI) running into the autonomous cars that could.

It has been reported that in one case, a guy in a Ford Ranger was playing on his phone and rear-ended one of the self-driving cars. In another instance, a Dodge Charger attempted a risky and illegal overtaking procedure when it scraped the front sensor of the car and took off without the driver even looking in the rearview. There was even one case where a Cruise employee saw an accident in the making – a cyclist that was intoxicated and going in the wrong direction – and attempted to stop, but the cyclist smucked into the little Bolt anyway. Gm’s Cruise division says the new generation of Bolt EVs, which provide level 3 autonomy (think of being on point with Tesla AutoPilot,) but, even if they are, are we ready to share the road with artificial intelligence that is apparently more logical than your typical human driver?

The End Game Doesn’t Look Promising

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“Autonomous cars are doing quite well these days, but we human drivers…. not so much”

So, here’s the deal: Aside from a few rogue Teslas and the occasional red-light-running Uber Volvo, autonomous cars are doing quite well these days, but we human drivers…. not so much. That’s the thing, see. Self-driving cars are machines. Nothing more, nothing less. They operate off basic programming, directives, and algorithms. In short, they are predictable because, ten times out of ten, they are going to have the same response to whatever stimuli sets them off. We humans, on the other hand, are panicky, inconsistent, dangerous creatures that tend to favor kneejerk reactions over a simple, logical thought process. As such, a light changing from green to yellow can result in a different reaction every time it occurs. If we’re in a rush or a bad mood, we might gun it and jump the intersection before it goes red. If we’re calm and collective, we’ll probably stop and enjoy the song playing on the radio. Then, there’s Molly not-going-to-live-long Smith with her nose stuck in the black hole that is social media, who will run through the intersection regardless of what the traffic light is doing. Obviously, this is a problem, and the bottom line is that we are unpredictable. Even as individuals, we’re smart, and even controlled most of the time, but even then, we can’t always predict what we’re going to do when a moment arises.

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“Along with the birth of electric cars and artificial intelligence will come a time when we – the creators – are banned from taking control of our own creations”

This is a bad thing folks because, once it becomes clear that the only reason car accidents are still occurring is the unpredictability of the human psyche, and our impeccably unreliable reaction time based on our surroundings, we will – without a doubt – be banned from driving. Along with the birth of electric cars and artificial intelligence will come a time when we – the creators – are banned from taking control of our own creations. And, while that may make the roads safer, my friends, it’s certainly not a future I’m looking forward too. Argue or debate all you want – if Chevy can produce evidence that all 13 accidents related to its self-driving Bolts were 100-percent human neglect and error, it’s only a matter of time before that becomes our reality… Is that what you want? Would the world be a better place if humans simply weren’t allowed to drive? Is it too soon give over control or can it not come soon enough? It’s easy to fall on either side of the fence on this one, but I want to know your thoughts. Get at me in the comments section below and fill me in on what the electrical waves in that fleshy meat sack you call a brain are saying to you.


Chevy Bolt

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PostHeaderIcon GM Says It’ll Shoulder Blame In Level 3 Autonomous Driving Crashes

Cadillac, under the direction of General Motors, introduced the first enclosed car in 1910; Cadillac debuted the electric starter motor that replaced hand-cranking in 1912; Cadillac then built the first mass-produced V-8 in 1915; and in 1940, GM introduced the first viable automatic transmission. Now in 2017, GM might be making another massive industry advancement that will shape the automotive landscape for the next century, if not beyond. GM says it will take full responsibility if its vehicles crash during autonomous driving.

The news comes from GM’s head of innovation, Warwick Stirling, who spoke with CarAdvice on the subject of autonomous driving and the automaker’s strides in Cadillac’s “Super Cruise” development. Stirling said, [As for] the question of liability, if the driver is not driving, the driver is not liable. The car is driving.” This makes GM the first major automaker to make statements about accepting responsibility for crashes while its self-driving car is operating itself. Volvo has reportedly made similar statements, though the Chinese-owned automaker pales in comparison to GM’s size, deep global reach, and influence. This marks the first breath of clarity on the convoluted subject of liability, and other automakers are likely to follow. However, Stirling points out GM cannot take responsibility for all self-driving vehicle crashes. Read his explanation below.

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It Boils Down to Defining Responsibilities

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“Cadillac’s new self-driving system, Super Cruise, is currently rated at a Level 2, meaning it can simultaneously take over both steering and speed control”

Warwick Stirling’s comments on GM’s acceptance of liability for its self-driving vehicles’ mistakes has a few caveats, but understandably so. According to Stirling, only when a vehicle is Level 3, 4, or 5 autonomous and it assumes complete control of its driving should the automaker accept responsibility for any wrongdoing.

Cadillac’s new self-driving system, Super Cruise, is currently rated at a Level 2, meaning it can simultaneously take over both steering and speed control, but the driver must remain alert and be ready to reassume control of the car. “In a Super Cruise situation, because the driver is still in the driver’s seat, and they are supposed to be driving, and the car is helping them, the driver is still liable,” he said in the interview. Tesla’s AutoPilot system also falls into this category, along with a handful of other automakers’ advanced driving aids.

“In January 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cleared Tesla of liability after a driver died in 2016 after he ignored audible and visual warnings to reassume control of the vehicle before crashing.”

The debate over liability has been ongoing but has gained momentum in response to automakers like Tesla and Cadillac and their semi-autonomous driving capabilities. The issue has even gone under an official investigation. In January 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cleared Tesla of liability after a driver died in 2016 after he ignored audible and visual warnings to reassume control of the vehicle before crashing.

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However, the situation will inevitably become muddled when the driver completely transfers driving responsibilities to the vehicle in Level 3 and higher systems. At that point, the vehicle is promised to completely have control, allowing the driver to disengage from situational awareness. The question arises: should a vehicle operating in a Level 3 or higher mode be at fault in causing a crash, who would be at fault? Should the vehicle’s autonomous system take the blame, or is it ultimately the driver’s responsibility to maintain the vehicle’s safe operation?

That’s the conundrum. Thankfully, Stirling has shed some clarity and logic to the divisive topic.

“In level four, there’s likely to be no steering wheel no pedal, you’re not driving so you’re not liable,” he said. “[It will be] a combination of the fleet owner, OEM, and the service provider [that] will cover the insurance. It’s going to be a capital liability; it’s going to be a complex space.”

Logically, that makes perfect sense, right? If a vehicle is promised to be fully autonomous and allows the driver to disengage from actively paying attention to the road and surrounding, then most certainly it would be the vehicle and its AI systems that would be held responsible for any driving infractions or crashes. As for current Level 2 and Level 3 systems, it is still the driver’s responsibility to ensure the car is driving properly and to maintain situational awareness.

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“As for current Level 2 and Level 3 systems, it is still the driver’s responsibility to ensure the car is driving properly and to maintain situational awareness.”

But that’s not the only problem

Yet another issue creeps up when considering self-learning software. Complex computer code with the ability to teach itself new skills has the potential to essentially learn bad habits. Will it then continue being the vehicle’s manufacturer or software architect at fault, or will blame actually rest on the self-taught AI software? That then opens Pandora’s Box on whether self-learning computer systems are self-aware and how bad behavior can be corrected and/or punished. Needless to say, we still have some debates to be had.

The Five Levels of Autonomous Vehicles

To better understand the roles and responsibilities human drivers have in autonomous vehicles, we can look to the Society of Automotive Engineering’s definition of each. This is known as the SAE J3016 standard.

GM Says It'll Shoulder Blame In Level 3 Autonomous Driving Crashes - image 736554

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Sucker Punches GM as Stock Prices Pass the $300 Mark

Tesla, as a company, has made huge advances in feasible, all-electric mobility and autonomous technology and has been growing at an alarming rate. One could even argue that it knows how to sell the hell out of its electric cars, evidenced by the delivery of just over 25,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2017 that included an eight-percent growth in sales for the Model S and 381-percent growth for the Model X over the same quarter in 2016. But, one thing it’s doesn’t do so well is make profit – something that the brand is commonly criticized for by other key players in the business. Be that as it may, the company is doing well when it comes to stock market and valuation.

With production of the Model 3 on the horizon and a record-setting first quarter as far as vehicle deliveries go, Tesla’s stock jumped past the $300 barrier for the first time in company history. But wait; that’s not all. This jump also puts Tesla’s market cap over $52 billion, a feat that puts it above both Ford and GM here in the U.S. As of the time of this writing, Ford’s market cap was $45.07 billion, GM’s was at $51.23 billion, and Tesla hit $52.08 billion. This officially makes it the largest and most valuable automaker in the U.S. by market capitalization.

That’s a pretty big deal for Tesla, especially considering the company rarely turns out a profit. But what does it mean for the long term?

PostHeaderIcon Throwback Video: Where is This Cool Window Technology?

Car technology has been evolving like crazy in recent years. We have electric cars like the Tesla Model S that can go hundreds of miles on a single charge, infotainment systems that offer similar services to that of your phone, Wi-Fi hotspots available in most mainstream models, and let’s not forget about gesture and voice controls that are starting to become available in less luxurious models. TV screens that were once limited to expensive and complicated aftermarket installs have been replaced by removable tablets that they whole vehicle can enjoy. The list really goes on, but what about the technology that hasn’t made it into cars yet? One such example is this crazy window technology that could transform the way we stay entertained in the back seat on road trips.

A few years back, graduate students from Bezalel Acadamy was challenged by General Motors to come up with new conceptual experiences for rear seat passengers. What they came up with was the “Windows of Opportunity” project. In the video you’re about to watch, there is a big bulky projector displaying manipulatable images on the glass of a car door. I won’t go into full details, but it offers up the ability to draw on the window and can project an image from just about anywhere else on earth. It’s all about augmented reality really, but also offers the ability to leave social messages for other people on the road or play a game like hangman or Fruit Ninja, for instance.

When you think about it, a technology like this could be brought to the market today with micro projectors mounted inside the vehicle. But, it could also lead to a new type of transparent display that allows for touch input too, all while allowing a window to be rolled down and concealed within the door. Sure, it leaves the possibility for expensive repairs should something go haywire, but at the same time, it’s pretty freaking cool. The question is, however, where is this technology at? We’ve seen all kinds of other cool technology, and with autonomous cars on the horizon, it could make for a fun way to play games with the family between stops on road trips. Would this be a cool technology to have, or would you rather keep things simple? Check out the video, then let us know what you think in the comments section below!

PostHeaderIcon The Era of Small Engines in Europe Could be Coming to an End

The war on emissions has been on-going with automakers continuously pressed to lower emissions output from their vehicles year after year. Over in Europe, the strategy to meet stringent emissions regulations has resulted in the downsizing of engines and the addition of turbochargers to make up for the power deficit. As such, the average engine size in Europe is anywhere between 1.3- and 1.9-liters. The shrinking of engines has worked well for emissions tests in Europe up until now, but according to Reuters, new on-the-road emissions testing has shown that smaller engines actually fail to meet the latest standards. This being the case, automakers are being forced to rethink their strategy, and those smaller engines could be on the chopping block.

So how bad is it? Well, real-world testing has shown that most of the smaller engines currently in use – like GM’s 1.2-liter diesel and VW’s 1.4-liter, three-pot diesel – can produce NOx levels up to 15 times the current legal standard when driven at higher loads. Smaller gasoline engines of similar size lose fuel-efficiency and “spew fine particles and carbon monoxide.” Renault’s 0.9-liter H4Bt engine injects excess fuel to prevent overheating, which has been found to produce massive levels of unburned hydrocarbons, fine particles, and CO2. So, what can automakers do to meet the tougher emissions regulations that must be adhered to by 2019?

Automakers have largely remained silent as to what their strategy will be going forward. But, sources have indicated that Volkswagen, Renault, and General Motors are all preparing to upsize some of their best-selling smaller engines while others will be retired altogether. All three have declined to comment on specific plans so far, but Alain Rapos – the Head of Powertrain for Renault-Nissan – said, “The techniques we’ve used to reduce engine capacities will no longer allow us to meet emissions standards. We’re reaching the limits of downsizing.”

Keep Reading for the rest of the story.

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