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GM said a new-generation electrical architecture will enable the high-tech features and capabilities crucial for advanced electric vehicles and driver-assistance features. (GM)

GM deploying electricals of the future

The Global B architecture will underpin nearly all newly developed GM vehicle platforms, enabling advanced digital capabilities that include OTA functionality.

General Motors recently offered media a deeper look at the company’s all-new vehicle electrical architecture that was first confirmed in mid-2019, saying the vehicle-wide electrical system is associated with more than 100 new patents. The advanced “digital vehicle platform,” known internally as Global B debuted with the 2020 Cadillac CT5 sedan. It serves as the electrical foundation for the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GM Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.

Gary Bandurski, executive director of Global Electronic Components and Subsystems said the new electrical architecture has approximately five times the processing capacity of GM’s current systems – enough to move 4.5 terabytes per hour, the equivalent data of 980 digitized movies or nearly a mile-and-half of books on a shelf. In addition to multiples of speed and functionality, the advanced electrical system also greatly bolsters cybersecurity strength, Bandurski added. 

But more noticeably for vehicle owners, he said, the advanced architecture will provide for a wide spectrum of over-the-air (OTA) software-update functionality and enhanced driver-assistance and safety capabilities. Apparent dynamic aspects will include faster brake response, smoother and more accurate accelerations and decelerations while using adaptive cruise control and the increasingly sophisticated versions of GM’s Super Cruise SAE Level 2 driver-assistance system, while all onboard cameras now display high-resolution images (to now, a mix of analog and digital has been employed), all with at least 1 megapixel resolution.

“Our new digital vehicle platform and its eventual successors will underpin all our future innovations across a wide range of technological advancements, including EVs and expanded automated driving,” summarized GM President Mark Reuss in the company’s initial release announcing the new electrical system.

Saving material, weight
Bandurski said the new electrical platform reduces the amount of wires and other hardware and brings corresponding packaging advantages, although the company has yet to specify how much material or weight can be saved. The system also provides greater bill-of-material sharing between internal-combustion-powered vehicles and its coming generation of fully electric vehicles.

The company said the new system lends itself to more intensive validation methods that come with increased digitization of all systems. Knowledge from past system designs was used to internally validate with a mixture of laboratory and road work that includes a 100,000-sq.ft. validation lab and a high degree of automation in the testing process.

A full-system test bench, an active safety bench and a harness verification frame are used in the validation lab to assure comprehensive and safe testing. Meanwhile, a specially outfitted lab tests up to 90% of current combinations of the new system’s infotainment functions; one part of the lab features a robotic testing rig that runs 24-hours-a-day to mimic user actions to identify potential functionality or compatibility issues. The lab also includes a station dedicated to validating Bluetooth and wi-fi connectivity for a spectrum of current mobile phones and upcoming models.

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