TUSTIN, Calif. -- One of the biggest challenges for the eighth-generation Corvette -- the first production model with the engine behind the driver -- doesn't have anything to do with how fast the car can reach 60 mph or carve up a corner.
The 2020 Corvette Stingray looks to be one of the most technically advanced vehicles General Motors has built since it tested the world's first fuel cell vehicle in 1966 and, five years later, built the propulsion and suspension system for the Lunar Rover that drove on the moon.
The new Corvette -- introduced here Thursday -- is a barometer of GM engineering in an era of rapidly changing technology. It will provide a strong test of GM's product development system, its testing and validation methods, and its quality control processes.
If the Corvette launches cleanly with no technical issues from adopting GM's new wire-reducing digital electrical architecture, its advanced lightweight, mixed-material chassis that uses die-cast aluminum parts made in an engine factory, the electric brakes and other innovations, it could bode well for GM as it pushes closer to production of fully autonomous vehicles, which will share some of the same technologies with the new Corvette.
And most important, the retooled Corvette's computer systems, and the speed at which they communicate internally and externally, will determine how seamlessly GM transitions to autonomous vehicles and the vast amount of data processing they require.