GM cited as automotive innovator
General Motors was the leading automotive innovator for the fourth-consecutive quarter among 183 companies ranked by The Patent Board in its quarterly automotive and transportation industry scorecard. GM was granted 1,123 U.S. patents in 2011 applied to global product engineering, global powertrain engineering, global research and development and OnStar organizations, according to the Patent Board, which is the leading independent provider for patent analysis and intellectual property investment. GM's recent patents covered areas such as "quiet brakes," which use a friction-damped disc brake with a thin metal ring embedded in the brake rotor to absorb vibrations and mute the squeal. The quieter brake is expected to be available on some cars and trucks within two to three years and On Star Voice Recognition, which can identify the location of the speaker within the vehicle and adjusts its microphone pick-up pattern to respond to location-specific commands.
GM was awarded another patent for eAssist Thermal Management for vehicles using an engine shut-off system. The eAssist deploys an innovative thermal management system that maintains occupant comfort during engine-shut off, and prevents engine shut-off if comfort will be lost, such as during extremely cold or hot weather conditions. “We are in the midst of redefining the automotive DNA, and these efforts are driving our people to reinvent every subsystem on the vehicle” said Alan Taub, GM vice president of Global Research and Development. “Being the recognized leader in innovation is important, because it tells our customers and shareholders that we are working on the leading edge of technology.” By Joseph Szczesny