Holden has offered an insight into the future of in-car technology with a workshop to support the introduction of the Holden Volt long range electric car.
Showcasing parent company GM's global developments in car safety and infotainment, the workshop was hosted by Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mike Devereux who said the long range Holden Volt gave drivers a chance to own the car of the future today.
"Volt is a very exciting car as it offers owners a unique driving experience. From its award-winning advanced technology propulsion to its cutting edge infotainment system and all-new active safety features, Volt is a showcase of what is to come from cars in the future. But it will be available for New Zealand drivers to own before the end of the year," said Mr Devereux.
New advanced active safety features, including Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert, will be offered for the first time in a Holden, making Volt one of the safest vehicles on the road.
Volt's Lane Departure Warning helps to modify collision risks that may arise when drivers stray over lane markings unintentionally, or depart a lane without signalling first. The system uses a windscreen-mounted digital camera that looks for lane markings to provide lane departure alerts over a certain speed.
The Forward Collision Alert system uses the same windscreen-mounted camera for lane departure warnings to detect slow or stationary traffic in front of the vehicle. The system looks for vehicles ahead and warns drivers if they are following another vehicle too closely.
Safety Developments GM's Executive Director for Electrical Systems, Kristen Siemen, shared details on new safety technology as well as GM's work on early autonomous vehicles.
"There are many important technologies under development on the way to our vision to build vehicles that don't crash and ultimately vehicles that can drive themselves. The building blocks toward that vision are systems like Electronic Stability Control (ESC), which is now standard on Holden cars.
"The next stage embraces the concept of sensor fusion, an innovation that enables integration of a broad range of sensing and positioning technologies including radars, cameras and ultrasonic sensors that can alert drivers to road hazards and help them to avoid crashes.
"These are technologies that already feature on luxury cars and will be seen on the next generation of new cars across all segments within the next decade."
GM is participating in a 2800 vehicle pilot program in the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Using hardware piloted initially in a South Australian trial by UniSA and Cohda Wireless, more than 2800 cars, trucks and public transport vehicles have been fitted with integrated safety systems, vehicle awareness devices, aftermarket and retrofit safety devices. This will enable the vehicles to both communicate with each other and 73 lane-miles of roadway which has been fitted with transponder equipment.
"This is an important pilot to assess how technology such as GPS and digital maps can integrate with cars, infrastructure and of course, the drivers themselves to deliver safer outcomes for drivers, passengers and pedestrians," said Ms Siemen.
Infotainment Trends Holden Volt's innovative driver infotainment system features a touch-sensitive centre console that houses a 7-inch full-colour touch screen display, the interface for infotainment, climate controls and satellite navigation.
Additionally Volt offers many of the features expected by today's connected consumer including voice recognition and Bluetooth®, DVD playback (while stationary), MP3 plug and play functionality, USB input with iPod® compatibility, 30GB inbuilt hard drive and Premium low energy Bose® audio system.
GM Senior Manager for Infotainment Program Management, Kathleen McMahon said that these were features increasing number of consumers were expecting to see in vehicles.
"We've seen a rapid change in the way drivers expect to be able to interact with the vehicles and it has been driven to a large extent by the explosion in usage of smartphones and the accessibility of 3G and now 4G mobile networks," said Mrs McMahon.
"For vehicle manufacturers, the challenge is to keep pace with consumer expectations and we've got some great plans in place to deliver on those expectations with future generations of cars. To start, we know that consumers are hyper connected, often on multiple devices or a single device that supports their online life.
"They want their car to fit with their device so how do we make that happen?"
One of the new technologies beginning to be rolled out across some Chevrolet models in the United States is GM's proprietary MyLink system. An advanced interactive media system featuring a 7-inch colour touch screen with intuitive user interface and steering wheel mounted controls, MyLink has been developed to integrate with smartphones and offers a USB port for any mass storage multimedia device.
"This is a system which will put the driver's infotainment needs at the heart of the car and it's a world away from the first AM radios that started appearing in vehicles in the 1920s and 30s," said Ms McMahon.
"Importantly development of systems like MyLink has now been brought in-house so we can move more quickly at getting the technology to market."
About Volt: The Holden Volt goes on sale in New Zealand in November and is now available to order from three specialist Holden Volt dealers Schofield Holden in Auckland, Ebbett Holden in Wellington and Blackwells Holden in Christchurch.
A game-changing electric vehicle (EV) with extended-range capability it can recharge in less than six hours via a regular household outlet (10A charge), costing as little as $2.75 for a full charge.
It has an electric range of up to 87km and with its petrol generator has a combined range of more than 600km. To view video of how Volt works visit - http://holdenhq.com.au/holden-volt-how-it-works/