While much work is being done to bring autonomous vehicles
to the roads, the closest most of us have yet got is cruise control, which has actually been around since the 1950s, appearing as “Auto-Pilot” in 1958 Chryslers and Imperials. Now Cadillac is looking to update things with road testing currently underway on a semi-autonomous technology dubbed “Super Cruise” that offers fully automatic steering, braking and lane-centering in highway driving – under certain conditions.
As GM's marquee brand, Cadillac is the launch vessel for the automaker's technological advancements. The newest Cadillac technology that GM has announced is a vibrating driver's seat that provides tactile feedback to help keep drivers safer. While the vibrating recliner you have at home is designed to keep you comfortable and relaxed, in contrast GM is using a vibrating seat to keep you alert. The Cadillac Safety Alert Seat comes equipped with dual vibration zones that are connected to the car's sensor-based safety systems.
Having trouble getting the lid off that pickle jar? Well, perhaps the Human Grasp Assist device can help. Designed through a collaboration between GM and NASA - and also known as Robo-Glove or K-Glove - the device is based on grasping technology initially developed for the hands of the space-going Robonaut 2
. Essentially a power-assisted work glove, Robo-Glove is designed to minimize repetitive stress injuries in both astronauts and autoworkers.
With the 82nd Geneva Motor Show
just weeks away, the world's automakers are gearing up to display their wares. As usual, many companies have already teased us with previews of what they'll have on display, including new small cars from the likes of Peugeot
, plus concepts from Rinspeed
. With the number of teasers multiplying by the minute, it's time for a quick round up of some of the other notable vehicles headed for the floor of the Geneva Palexpo convention center.
This week, GM rolled out its IntelliLink infotainment system. The system connects wirelessy to your smartphone and provides voice-activated access to phone and audio functions. This latest example of the growing number of in-vehicle smartphone connectivity systems will be standard equipment on all Buick sedans and will be offered as an option on the GMC Terrain and Acadia.
In-car DVD players and handheld game consoles have proven a godsend to parents looking to avoid the regular cries of “are we there yet?” from kids in the back seat. Similar to Toyota’s “Window to the World
” concept, GM’s “Windows of Opportunity” (WOO) project looks to advance back seat entertainment even further. The project saw the automaker giving researchers and students from the FUTURE LAB at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Israel free reign to design applications that rear seat passengers would interact with through their side windows, which act as interactive displays.
GM's OnStar has given the world a sneak peak at the future of in-vehicle technology with a variety of announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show. This year, it will open its ATOMS platform to third-party developers, allowing for drivers and passengers to have access to new vehicle-specific apps. The company is also showing what the next generation of in-vehicle technology may look like with a Verizon 4G LTE-equipped research vehicle.
Carbon fiber is nothing new to the automotive industry. Race teams and exotic automakers have been using it to decrease weight and boost performance for years. However, due to the great expense of production, carbon fiber hasn't yet extended past these top-end applications. With a new partnership, GM seeks to bring the advantages of carbon fiber to mainstream automobiles.
General Motors will become the first American automotive manufacturer to build its own electric motors when production begins in White Marsh, Maryland, in late 2012. In promoting this capability, GM has released details of the first motor to be built there, the 85 kW (114 hp) permanent magnet motor to be used in the 2013 Chevrolet Spark EV.
Basic car safety systems designed to save lives in the event of an accident like seatbelts
are being supplemented in modern vehicles by increasingly sophisticated preventative technologies such as ABS
and lane departure warning systems
. The next step in the evolution of collision prevention technology is vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications systems like that found on the LTE Connected Car
and BMW's Vision ConnectedDrivet
concepts that would allow vehicles to share information on their relative location and road conditions. GM has recently announced it is testing small, portable devices that create a "wireless safety net" to gather information from other vehicles and infrastructure to warn drivers of potential hazards.