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GM Cutting 100 R&D Jobs in Detroit

Faster work – fewer jobs.

by on May.02, 2012

GM engineers work on a prototype fuel cell stack.

General Motors, in a bid to save cash and expedite the development of new technology, is restructuring its research and development efforts – but the move is going to be felt in the form of job cuts, especially in suburban Detroit.

As part of the shake-up, GM is reducing the size of the research and development staff based at the GM technical center in Warren by 25% and closing a research center in Bangalore, India.  GM officials said the goal of the restructuring is to bring innovations to the market faster.

“It’s very competitive now,” said GM spokesman Dan Flores.

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The changes follow a shift in the leadership at the research and development group. Alan Taub, who had been in charge of R&D, was replaced by John Lauckner on April 1, Lauckner will also serve as GM’s chief technical officer, GM officials said.

As part of the reorganization, the size of the research and development staff will be cut to 300 from the current level of 400. The research center in Bangalore, which employs 90, will be closed completely and the work now underway in Bangalore will be reassigned to other parts of GM’s research and development network.

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Digital Windows on the World?

GM concept would make those glass panels interactive.

by on Jan.18, 2012

Animated character Otto helps a child connect with the outside world using a "smart" rear window.

Game Boys and backseat monitors are “so five years ago,” suggests Tom Seder, a manager at the General Motors R&D labs.

Working with the Future Lab, at Israel’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, GM researchers are exploring ways to turn a car’s rear windows into interactive devices that could permit backseat passengers – children in particular – to have a more interesting experience while traveling.

According to GM, the Windows of Opportunity, or WOO, Project was inspired by studies showing that travelers often feel disconnected from the world outside.  The goal of the project isn’t to replace those Game Boys, iPads and seatback monitors as a way to play Mario Brothers, but to actually nurture curiosity about what’s beyond the passenger compartment.

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“Traditionally, the use of interactive displays in cars has been limited to the driver and front passenger, but we see an opportunity to provide a technology interface designed specifically for rear seat passengers,” said Seder. “Advanced windows that are capable of responding to vehicle speed and location could augment real world views with interactive enhancements to provide entertainment and educational value.”

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GM Leads in Clean Energy Patents

But competition is fierce.

by on Apr.18, 2011

Researcher Vikrant Gokhale in the midst of advanced development work.

General Motors has received more clean-energy patents in the past year than any other organization, according to a new study.

New data from the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index of U.S. patents released Friday indicated GM’s 135 patents represent nearly 14% of the total 1,881 received by 700 organizations around the United States, which isn’t too bad for a “clueless, lumbering giant,” as some have dubbed the maker.

“U.S. clean-energy patents were at an all-time high in 2010,” said Victor Cardona, co-chairman of the Cleantech Group, at the Albany, N.Y., law firm of Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti, which specializes in intellectual property and publishes the Index.

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“GM has clearly put forth a lot of effort in a range of clean-energy technologies, resulting in its appearance at the top of the list for the first time,” he said.

GM’s patents covered hybrid electric vehicles, fuel cells and solar energy, and focus on improvements to current and future technologies.

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