Tesla’s Autopilot Gets Schooled By Cadillac’s Super Cruise
For a layman, autonomous technology is Autopilot. That’s how synonymous Musk has made it; so naturally, one would assume it to be the best one. However, according to Consumer Reports, it’s not Tesla’s autopilot, but Cadillac’s Super Cruise that’s the best system in the market today. Surprised?
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."
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.
GM and Delta America’s Working on a EV Charging System That Provides 180 Miles in 10 Minutes
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!
Now GM and Marketers Want to Force Feed Advertisements Via Your Car Windows
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.
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.
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.
Does GM Know Better than Elon Musk when it Comes to Self-Driving Cars?
The truth is, we don’t have fully autonomous cars – I’m talking about level 5 autonomy. The closest to come to it so far is Tesla with its AutoPilot system, but it’s nowhere near being trustworthy enough to let it run all on its own without a human looking after it. Musk has gone on record saying that all Tesla’s built after October of 2016 are level 5 Autonomous capable. Of course, that means Tesla’s cars can do so with nothing more than cameras and radar, something no other manufacturer can seem to agree with. Most believe that at SAE-certified autonomous cars will require a full sensor suite that includes, at the very least, cameras, radar, and lidar, if not other sensors as well. Scott Miller, the Director of Autonomous Vehicle Integration over at GM, said, “To think you can see everything you need for a level five autonomous [car] with cameras and radar, I don’t know how you do that.”
Of course, nobody really knows what SAE level-5 will really by, so Miller’s insinuation that he knows whether or not Tesla’s system is SAE-certifiable for level 5 is a moot point – SAE doesn’t know what level 5 autonomy requires and there is no test out there for it as of the time of this writing. Be that as it may, Miller still says that Elon Musk is giving us the ol’ leg pull because using just camera’s and radar isn’t possible
“The level of technology and knowing what it takes to do the mission, to say you can be a full level five with just cameras and radars is not physically possible. I think you need the right sensors and right computing package to do it. Think about it; we have LIDAR, radar, and cameras on this. The reason we have that type of sensor package is that we think you need not be deeply integrated in to be level five, you should have redundancy.”
Of course, we should keep in mind that these comments are coming from a company that’s barely at level two, and just launched the “Supercruise” system in a single vehicle for the first time. That system is considered level-2 and allows hands-off driving on certain stretches of highway. So, you could really chalk this one off to someone who doesn’t have experience in anything more than an entry-level technology trying to call out the man who practically pioneered the self-driving revolution.
And, let’s not forget that Elon has been criticized before as well – remember when they said it was crazy to land a rocket, upright on a platform and reuse said rocket later on? Yeah, I do too, and guess what? Elon did it. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see, and I can appreciate the want for redundant systems and backups for safety, but telling someone they can’t do something it’s a surefire way to motivate them to prove you wrong. So, we shall see…
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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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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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!
Next OnStar System to Use IBM Artificial Intelligence to Annoy Drivers with Targeted Offers and Services
GM’s OnStar system is evolving and the latest iteration, dubbed OnStar Go, is set to make it into 2017 model year vehicles. The system will build upon the services already available in today’s models, including features like diagnostics, security monitoring, hands-free calling, and navigation services, among others. But, OnStar Go will also utilize IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence technology to “optimize the driver’s time in the vehicle.” What that really means is that GM and IBM have partnered up to bring targeted offers and services to anyone who owns a GM vehicle.
These “targeted offers and services” will be available at no charge as part of the free and basic five-year OnStar plan included with the purchase of every new vehicle that is properly equipped and has a 4G wireless connection. So far, these customized offers will come from companies like Exxon Mobil, iHeartRadio, Glympse, Parkopedia, and Mastercard. GM and IBM will reportedly share revenue generated from these offers with the aforementioned partners. The offers presented to drivers will be tailored to them based on their habits, location, and other factors like current weather conditions.
“IBM and GM are changing the whole notion of where valuable, daily rituals occur. The combination of IBM Watson and industry-leading OnStar connectivity will enable vehicles with intelligent branded skills and services to empower drivers and passengers,” said Paul Papas, Global Leader, IBM iX. “Simply put, OnStar Go with IBM Watson transforms time wasted in the car into time well spent.”
As an example of how the system will work, if the vehicle is running low on fuel, the system will recognize this and locate the nearest Exxon Mobil gas station. It will then, make it make it on the navigation screen and direct drivers in the proper direction. Apparently, users will also be able to make authorized payments from inside the vehicle has well.
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General Motors Files Patent For New Two-Stage Turbocharger
General Motors isn’t averse to making advancements in engine technology. That was made abundantly clear after reports surfaced that the company has filed a patent for a new two-stage turbocharger design that could potentially eliminate the shortcomings of the current version.
GM Inside News had the scoop, publishing a document that reveals a new design that separates the low-pressure and high-pressure turbines, allowing them to work independently of each other. This is opposed to the current setup where both turbines operate simultaneously at low to mid engine speeds with the low-pressure turbine working exclusively at high engine speeds. The result is that both turbines aren’t isolated from one another and because of that, low-end performance isn’t maximized to its fullest potential.
GM’s new two-stage turbocharger design evolves from the current design by connecting the high-pressure turbo to the exhaust manifold through a high-pressure inlet duct while the low-pressure turbo is now connected to the high-pressure turbo through a low-pressure inlet duct, which is then linked to a connecting channel. The design also features an ECU-controlled actuator on the exhaust manifold that can isolate both the low- and high-pressure turbines by opening the inlet duct and closing off the connecting channel or vice versa. According to the company, this new design provides more efficiency for the two turbines by optimizing them to fulfil their specific functions, thus helping increase the engine’s performance capabilities while also reducing lag.
At this point, there’s no word on how GM plans to use the design for production use. The patent did reveal that it was mated to a four-cylinder engine so it’s conceivable to think that we’re going to see this new technology put into use with the automaker’s roster of four-cylinder engines. When that’ll be is the question, but considering the seeming importance of this new design for the company moving forward, we might see it sooner than later, with the company’s lineup of premium models getting first dibs.
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GM Launches Maven - New Personal Mobility Brand
Aside from the whole autonomous cars thing that the world is focused on, the next thing on the list is personal and shared mobility. It was recently announced that General Motors had partnered with Lyft to provide a number of GM vehicles on demand to Lyft drivers. Now, GM is taking the idea of car sharing to a whole new level through a company called Maven. Currently Maven has been running various car-sharing programs on GM campuses in the U.S., Germany, and China, but GM has announced that Maven’s car-sharing services are expanding into the public domain, with Ann Arbor, Michigan being the first metropolitan area to get the service. More areas will be included sometime later this year.
GM President Dan Ammann said, “GM is at the forefront of redefining the future of personal mobility. With the launch of our car-sharing service through Maven, the strategic alliance with ride-sharing company Lyft, and building on our decades of leadership in vehicle connectivity through OnStar, we are uniquely positioned to provide the high level of personalized mobility services our customers expect today and in the future.”
Basically, the system works via a smartphone app. Those looking to “borrow” a car for a period of time can pull up the app, locate a vehicle, reserve it, and pay for its use – insurance and fuel included. In Ann Arbor, this means more than 100,000 people, mainly University of Michigan faculty and students will have access GM cars at more than 20 locations around the city. Once a vehicle is reserved, the app is used to unlock the vehicle, start the engine remotely, and even control the HVAC system.
Maven will launch the same service in Chicago through a partnership with Magellan Development Group near to the end of the first quarter of 2016. The next move is to expand the “Let’s Drive NYC” program through a partnership with Stonehenge Partners in New York City. Eventually, the program should move forward to allow peer-to-peer sharing like that seen in Germany via CarUnity. Once autonomous cars are perfected, the program will be further expanded, and cars will deliver themselves to those who have reserved them. There aren’t any details on pricing at this point, but I suspect we’ll see pricing that competes well with car rental companies across the globe.
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