Cloud computing could transform car interiors

Storing data outside vehicles could reduce clutter inside.

Access to the "cloud," through a wireless Internet connection in a car, has automakers thinking out of the box.

Potential features go far beyond present uses of in-car Internet access. With the expanded data storage available, a car could become a highly customized personal assistant connected to the owner's home, smartphone, and computer.

For example, a car could automatically tailor ride and handling characteristics for an individual driver on an individual route, instead of having the driver choose from a limited number of modes such as "sport" … Read more

GM invests $325 million in Warren, Mich. plant

General Motors' latest investment will provide tools and equipment to support production of future electric vehicle components. The company announced on Friday that it will invest $325 million in its Warren, Mich., plant and create or retain 418 jobs.

The plant's current 679 employees produce transmissions for the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia crossovers and the Chevrolet Malibu sedan.

The 2.1-million-square-foot plant, equivalent to the area of 15 city blocks, produced more than 338,000 transmissions in 2010, the company said in a press release.

"This investment in the future recognizes the excellent work force … Read more

Aftermarket device brings V2V tech to all cars

The cars of the future will use vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication for advanced safety technology that will help them avoid accidents, but what about the old clunkers sharing the road with them?

To make sure all cars have this new capability, GM is working on an aftermarket device that could work in all cars to communicate road and traffic hazards with other vehicles.

Unprotected turns, inclement weather, and road hazards are scenarios that can lead to automobile accidents. But V2V technology could help avoid these and up to 81 percent of all traffic accidents, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (PDF).

Using sensors already installed on the vehicles, the system gathers information about traffic and weather and transmits this information to other vehicles, so drivers have more time to react to road obstacles. The system can also activate a vehicle's accident avoidance technologies, such as electronic stability control. … Read more

GM: Expect self-driving vehicles by 2020

Self-driving vehicles may seem cutting-edge, but they could be commonplace sooner than you think, according to GM.

GPS, sensors, cameras, and wireless technology are available in many cars currently on the market, and are used in lane-departure, crash-avoidance, and navigation systems to make vehicles safer and more convenient for consumers to drive. But they're also the building blocks of autonomous platforms, and when used in concert with car-to-infrastructure communication, they open the door to vehicles that can operate on autopilot--a technology leap that isn't that far off from becoming a reality. … Read more

In electric-car stakes, automakers spread their bets

DEARBORN, Mich.--Electrification is the biggest change to hit the auto industry in decades. But with little clarity on how the technology will play out in the future, automakers are laying down multiple billion-dollar bets.

After years of talking about plug-in electric vehicles, automakers can finally point to actual products, actual customers, and the beginnings of a charging infrastructure.

Yet automakers still don't know which products will resonate with consumers. The result is a spate of all-electric cars and a spectrum of hybrids built around different-size batteries.

What combination of battery and gas engine will be most popular with … Read more

GM planning to pilot next-gen EN-V in megacities

GM's autonomous pod could be coming to a megacity near you. The auto manufacturer announced that it has begun development of the next-generation EN-V, and is exploring pilot programs to test the concept in real-world scenarios.

The electric two-seater pod debuted at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, and is designed to provide a safe, congestion reducing, zero-emissions transportation solution for dense urban environments. Estimates predict that 60 percent of the world's population will live in megacities by 2030, according to GM. … Read more

Chevy greenlights electric version of Spark

Chevrolet appears to be hedging its bets on the electric car market, announcing that it will produce an all-electric version of the Chevrolet Spark subcompact for the U.S. market in 2013.

The auto manufacturer has been preaching the benefits of its extended range electric power train as the best fit for American drivers who want to dip their toes in electric driving, but it has also been testing all-electric vehicles in Asia and India. Tests of those EVs, which were developed jointly by GM Daewoo, LG Chem, and LG Electronics, have proven successful, and parent company General Motors has decided to bring the all-electric platform to the U.S. in the Chevrolet Spark. … Read more

GM dips toe in car sharing in deal with RelayRides

Even incumbent automakers think this car-sharing idea has some legs.

General Motors is expected announce a partnership tomorrow with start-up RelayRides that will allow GM vehicles owners to rent out their cars to other consumers using OnStar and a smart-phone. The service will first be offered in California starting by the end of the first quarter next year.

The auto giant is partnering with RelayRides to learn more about car sharing and offer OnStar customers a service to make revenue with their vehicles, said Stephen Girsky, vice chairman of corporate strategy and new business development at GM. It also gives … Read more

Developers get iOS 5 gold master

This probably shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, given that iOS 5 is arriving in consumers' hands next week, but Apple today gave developers a final copy of the software they can use to fine-tune their apps for compatibility.

Apple posted the gold master of the software on its developer site following this morning's announcements. Worth noting is that existing developers cannot install it as an over-the-air update, and they must use one of the recent developer betas of iTunes from the past two months.

The release today comes just after the date range predicted by … Read more

Chevy drivers at GM Korea set Guinness World Record with vehicle logo

In preparation for Chevrolet's centennial celebration, set for November 3, 2011, GM Korea gathered 1,143 of its customers in Pyeongchang, Gangwon, to create the largest Chevrolet bow tie and set a new Guinness World Record.

The motorcar mosaic was made up of Spark, Aveo, Cruze, Orlando and Captiva models and measured 688 feet (209.9 meters) in length and 221 feet (67.6 meters). The design was recognized as the Largest Car Logo.

The Chevy brand launched in Korea on March 1, 2011, with a nationwide brand unveiling event in Seoul. Since then, GM Korea has introduced several … Read more