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GM Developing Smartphone Safety Network

System could provide eyes and ears for unseen traffic hazards.

by on Oct.18, 2011

A network of smartphones and other devices could alert motorists to unseen obstacles.

The latest smartphones can do just about everything but cook breakfast – though they can help track down the recipe for a mean Eggs Benedict.  Now, General Motors is looking at ways to link smartphones to alert your car to unseen pedestrians and other obstacles.

In effect, a network of smartphones – paired with fixed cameras and other roadside sensors – could create a wireless safety net, the maker suggests.  Dubbed vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, such systems could help avert nearly 81 percent of all U.S. vehicle crashes, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Such technology could be in place within a decade, adds the automaker – which recently showed off a vehicle that might be able to integrate the technology, the second-generation Chevrolet EN-V.

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“These safety systems could provide a significant leap in automotive safety, but their effectiveness goes up dramatically as more people use them,” said Don Grimm, senior researcher for GM’s Perception and Vehicle Control Systems group. “By putting the technology into portable devices, we could make this potentially life-saving technology widely available and more affordable.”


GM Developing New EN-V

Rickshaw-like battery vehicle targets inner-city commuters.

by on Oct.13, 2011

The 2nd-generation Chevrolet EN-V could appeal to entry-level commuters, the maker believes.

It looks like a self-propelled rickshaw, with more in common with the quirky Segway personal mobility device than a conventional automobile, but General Motors is convinced its EN-V concept vehicle could play a major role in the future of transportation.

So, the U.S. maker says it will develop a second-generation EN-V to not only test out the idea of operating on only two wheels but also to explore concepts that include autonomous mobility – the sci-fi fantasy of cars that can operate entirely on their own.

“We someday anticipate connecting all vehicles through a mobility network that could include autonomous driving,” said Jim Federico, a senior product executive with GM, which showed off a prototype of the EN-V gen-two during a news conference celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Chevrolet brand.

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The original concept, first shown at the 2009 New York Auto Show, carried a generic GM badge. The switch to Chevrolet reflects that brand’s role as the primary provider of basic transportation within the General Motors family, explained Chip Perry, GM’s vice president of global marketing.

“By 2030, more than 60% of the world’s 8 billion people will live in urban areas,” he noted.  “The Chevrolet EN-V represents a possible solution for global customers living in markets where alternative transportations solutions are needed.”