TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- General Motors is starting to harvest technology from the 20-plus startup companies in which it has invested.
GM global purchasing chief Steve Kiefer said the automaker is starting to install gadgets and technology that were bankrolled by GM Ventures, its venture capital unit. Launched in 2010, GM Ventures is scouting startups with technology related to infotainment, vehicle electrification, fuel economy, advanced materials and autonomous driving.
A few examples:
- New software from Tula Technology Inc. will improve the efficiency of cylinder deactivation. Current technology employs a fixed pattern of deactivation -- say, half the cylinders of a V-8 engine. Tula's software, dubbed Dynamic Skip Fire, allows the engine control unit to adjust each cylinder's individual firing pattern continuously.
- Several CUE-equipped Cad-illac models feature a wireless phone charger designed by Powermat Technologies Ltd. The motorist places the smartphone on a rubberized pad, and an electromagnetic field recharges the battery.