WINDSOR, ON, Canada – General Motors is initiating a long-term roadmap for autonomous-intervention systems with near-term adoption of electric power steering and advanced stability control.
John Calabrese, GM’s vice president-global vehicle engineering and president-global technology operations, confirms the strategy here after addressing Canadian suppliers at the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Assn.’s annual conference.
Autonomous intervention is a safety field that affords enhanced vehicle control through independently activated accelerator modulation or steering inputs.
Calabrese’s remarks include several mentions of systems that range in complexity from lane-keeping to full autonomous vehicle operation.
“You can’t do some of this stuff when you have a hydraulic steering system,” he tells Ward’s, adding EPS is “in our roadmap.”
And EPS would work with ESC systems that offer torque-vectoring capability in addition to the conventional technology’s strategic braking function.
“Instead of braking to keep you straight, you want to have torque vectoring,” Calabrese says. “You want to apply torque to keep your speed as you go.” The active nature of these technologies “enables you to do other things,” he adds.
Calabrese’s presentation features references to GM’s EN-V concept vehicle that not only drives itself, but also monitors the positions of other vehicles to avoid collisions.
While full autonomous vehicle operation could be decades away, EPS is proliferating now. Ward’s reported in February that nine of the 10 fullsize pickups on sale in the U.S. would soon feature EPS, and GM models are among them.
Calabrese is mum on the specifics of GM’s EPS rollout, but he suggests the auto maker will be in a position to compete with Ford, which confirms the technology will be on all its models by 2013.
“I can’t speak on (GM’s) timeline,” he says. “We’re all on the same page.” And Ford “isn’t the first” to embrace EPS, Calabrese adds. “Toyota’s been doing it for about five years.”
Hybrid-electric vehicles, Toyota’s forte, demand the efficiency afforded by EPS, which offers weight savings and requires less operating power than hydraulic systems. Further EPS proliferation can be expected as the auto maker makes good on its promise to produce hybrid versions of all its vehicles.
Calabrese uses his appearance here to challenge suppliers. Innovation will get GM’s attention, he says, adding the auto maker soon will be sending invitations to select suppliers for a special event at one of its engineering sites.
The goal of the event is to give suppliers a behind-the-scenes look at the opportunities to win new business with GM.