As a rule, there are not very many original designs being created in the world. A new product is based off of the existing technology of the previous generation, and likewise that generation was based off of the one which came before it. This is true for the toaster, the roll top desk, and it is true of the car. But every now and then, someone comes along with a mold breaking concept, and then puts it into production. The last time this happened to a great extent was the 2004 model Toyota Prius. Revolutionizing what it means to drive in a highway dominated city like Phoenix Arizona, the Prius has continued adapting and updating with each generation of the vehicle. With the unveiling of General Motors’ “Autonomy” concept car, GM hopes to be the next in line to revolutionize not only fuel economy and driving experience, but the very nature of the vehicle itself.
The result is the AUTOnomy: a vehicle designed around a fuel cell propulsion system in a “skateboard chassis” which can have a variety of bodies fitted. AUTOnomy provides a glimpse into GM’s vision for the 21st century: a socially responsible, infinitely adaptable and globally marketable vehicle line that has minimal design constraints.
AUTOnomy is the first vehicle designed from the ground up around a fuel cell propulsion system and the first to combine fuel cells with x-by-wire technology, which allows steering, braking and other vehicle systems to be controlled electronically rather than mechanically. According to GM, the entirely new vehicle architecture is far greater than the sum of its innovative parts.
Rick Wagoner, President and CEO of General Motors Corp., stated “We started with the premise, ‘What if we were inventing the automobile today rather than a century ago? What might we do differently?’ AUTOnomy is more than just a new concept car; it’s potentially the start of a revolution in how automobiles are designed, built and used.”
Phoenix Arizona customers can view and test drive any current production GM model at any Phoenix Valley GM dealer. While this vehicle is not slated to hit Phoenix Valley show rooms anytime in the very near future, we can and should expect new bits and pieces of emerging technology from the GM development laboratory to find its way into Phoenix Arizona GM models in the next two or three years.