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New Autonomous Vehicle Rules On the Way

New Autonomous Vehicle Rules On the Way

Legislation facilitating use of autonomous cars could be 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."

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GM Plans No Direct Competitor For The Ford F-150 Raptor

GM Plans No Direct Competitor For The Ford F-150 Raptor

Take it for what it’s worth, but GM executive vice president of global product development, Mark Reuss says the automaker has no plans on developing a full-size competitor to the upcoming, second-generation Ford Raptor. That word comes from an interview Reuss had with Edmunds about viability of the project.

Reuss is quoted saying, “We have a lot of priorities…. [and] capital is not endless. That is not one of our highest priorities in terms of spending capital right now.”

While it’s never wise to fully accept the fate of a vehicle based on such loose quotes, this does feel like sugar in the gas tank of the Raptor competitor’s possibility. It also somewhat dulls the excitement over GM’s trademarking of the “Badlands” name. Perhaps that’s a vehicle GM showrooms will never see. It could, however, be that rumored Jeep Wrangler-fighter from GMC.

With the bad news (sort of) confirmed, speculation can turn to the smaller, yet likely just as capable, Colorado ZR2 concept. The highly modified truck made its debut at 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show and wowed audiences with its remote reservoir shocks, meaty tires, four-inch suspension lift and four-inch stretched width. The concept even boasted a built-in winch behind the front bumper.

Of course, the Colorado ZR2’s fate is still undetermined as it still has the “concept” term stuck on its name.

With all the off-road rumors swirling around The General these days, it’s hard to give up on either idea of a GMC Badlands or the Colorado ZR2. Let’s just hope Reuss has something up his sleeve on this one.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford F-150 Raptor.

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More General Motors Trademarks: "Scottsdale" And "Silverado Big Sky"

More General Motors Trademarks: "Scottsdale" And "Silverado Big Sky"

The trademark filings continue for General Motors, this time with a new name and the return of an old favorite. Filed on February 9th and 12th respectively, the Silverado Big Sky and Scottsdale names seem very likely candidates for near-future trim levels or special editions in the GM truck lineup. In fact, it doesn’t take much imagination or guess work to figure out that both names will accompany the Chevy Silverado.

The more obvious name is the Silverado Big Sky. This will likely be a subset option package group to an existing trim level, say the mid-range LT or LTZ, and bundle several popular options together for a one-click option box shopping experience. Conversely, Chevy may follow Ford’s lead and introduce a panoramic sunroof option. This is less likely, but still a possibility.

The Scottsdale on the other hand, may end up being a new trim level altogether. The Scottsdale name dates back to the third generation of the Chevy C/K-series trucks of the 1970s and 80s. Back then the Scottsdale was a mid-range trim package. It continued in that role into the C/K’s fourth generation, eventually being retired after the 1998 model year.

The argument for the Scottsdale name being a trim package is further strengthened when reading GM’s trademark filing description. It says it’s for, “Motor land vehicles, namely automobiles, sport utility vehicles, trucks, vans, engines therefore and structural parts thereof.” That’s pretty inclusive when compared to the Big Sky’s description of, “Motor land vehicles, namely, trucks.”

Perhaps Chevrolet will compete with Ram’s Express trim level by putting the Scottsdale trim level between the WT and LS options. The trim level could spill over to the Colorado, Tahoe, and Suburban as well.

Click ’Continue Reading’ to learn more about General Motor’s new trademarks.

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General Motors Trademarks "Badlands" Moniker

General Motors Trademarks "Badlands" Moniker

General Motors has filed for a trademark on yet another truck name, this one just as promising as the Z71 Trail Boss name that came before it. This time, it’s “Badlands.” While the name conjures up thoughts of blasting over sand dunes and through deep streams, there is still no clue what GM might use the name for, or even at all.

The fine folks at GM Authority spotted the February 16th filing with he U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The official paperwork leaves a slew of questions unanswered, with the description only stating, “Motor land vehicle, namely, trucks.” Could this be the Raptor fighter we’ve all been waiting on? Could it be a mere concept? Only time will tell. Until then, we’re left to speculate.

Perhaps one of the more tantalizing uses of the Badlands name is that Jeep Wrangler fighter GMC is rumored to be building. Said to be taking inspiration from the defunct Hummer brand, the off-road-ready GMC would bring some long-overdue competition to the Jeep. Like the Badlands name, there is no official word or even solid rumors as to what the General has planned.

Conversely, the Badlands name could end up being just another special edition package on one of GM’s many trucks. Let’s just hope for the former. In the mean time, stay tuned for any further developments.

Click ’Continue Reading’ to learn more about GM’s new "Badlands" moniker.

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GM Trademarks "Z71 Trail Boss" Nomenclature

GM Trademarks "Z71 Trail Boss" Nomenclature

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is oftentimes the first leak of an upcoming vehicle as automakers make names and terms officially theirs. Hopefully that’s the case with General Motors’ latest USPTO filing of the name “Z71 Trail Boss.” While it could just be a concept vehicle, the Z71 Trail Boss could be GM’s long-awaited answer to the Ford Raptor, Ram Power Wagon, or even Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.

The filing does not go into detail, but it does say the name is designated for “passenger vehicles, namely, light duty pickup trucks.” Now the term “light duty pickups” technically includes both the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and its smaller brother, the Colorado, so anything is possible. But let’s look at what’s probable.

Z71 is a term only used by Chevrolet these days, with GMC using the All Terrain nomenclature; so forget anything with the Sierra or Canyon. Also considering Chevrolet has already showcased the Colorado ZR2 concept at the LA Auto Show, it’s likely the Trail Boss name will be slated for the Silverado. After all, the ZR2 name already has credibility from its time with the Chevy S-10 and Blazer.

So what can we expect from the Z71 Trail Boss? As much as I’d love to say the truck should outclass the F-150 Raptor with longer suspension travel, stronger skidplating, and a more powerful engine, I’d be wrong. I suspect the Silverado Z71 Trail Boss will be more in line with the new 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel.

I’m betting the truck will receive a slightly more aggressive suspension package over the standard Z71 package, along with a mild styling update. Perhaps it will come with a built-in winch like the Colorado ZR2 concept and the Ram Power Wagon. It will likely come with electronic locking differentials fore and aft like the ZR2 concept, as well as a taller ride height by an inch or two. Things under the hood will undoubtedly remain stock, with GM using the standard 5.3-liter V-8 or possibly the 6.2-liter V-8.

GM has certainly gotten the truck community’s attention with this Z71 Trail Boss name. Let’s just hope whatever it’s attached to earns the title.

Click past the jump to read more about GM’s new nomenclature.

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GM Considers Ford Raptor Competitor

GM Considers Ford Raptor Competitor

It appears General Motors may be considering a Ford Raptor competitor in the near future, though not with the Silverado or Sierra. Reports from GM Authority suggest The General will use the upcoming midsize Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon as the truck of choice.

It seems GM has chosen the smaller trucks mostly due to their compact size and lighter weight, giving them more agility and potentially better handling. Along with being more agile, the smaller trucks will fit into tighter trails, like the famous Rubicon Trail in California — a trail the Raptor is simply too large to navigate.

There are really no solid details to go on, so speculation will have to suffice. It’s likely the new Raptor fighter will come with the largest engine offering, meaning the 3.6-liter V-6. Perhaps GM will allow the 2.8-liter turbo-diesel to power the off-roader as well. Beefy springs and shocks will be a must, along with larger off-road tires. Expect to see the Eaton G80 locking rear differential come standard along with a high-capacity cooling system for the engine and transmission. Generous underbody skid plating will also come included.

As far as naming the new GM truck, we could see a revival of the ZR2 nomenclature last used in regular production on the long-dead Chevy S-10. The name had a recent comeback on a Chevrolet Silverado concept truck back in 2011, but never gained any traction. We already know GM was pondering a “ZR2 package” back when the new Colorado/Canyon twins were revealed in 2013, so the likelihood is rather high the ZR2 will happen. Whether it’s a true Raptor fighter has yet to be seen. Stay tuned for further details.

Note: Chevrolet Colorado Rally Concept pictured here.

Click past the jump to read more about GM’s future Ford Raptor competitor.

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