General Motors body structures director Antonio Vittorini described the megatrends of electrification and autonomy as affecting the technology of exterior features shop work daily. Noting his OEM’s zero-zero-zero vision of no crashes, congestion or emissions. He told the 2019 Great Designs in Steel conference that zero crashes required additional sensing capabilities supporting autonomy.
Tesla boasts that its suite of sensors and cameras on newer vehicles are enough to enable full autonomy, but Vittorini described a need for additional cameras, lidar and short- and long-range radar to power autonomy and even safety systems. “Those sensors need to work with ‘conventional bodies and conventional steel technology,” Vittorini said. He told the audience that the steel industry needed to deliver “solutions that allow for a lot of these autonomous technologies and sensing equipment to be put on to the vehicle. With all the increasing technology that we want to put on the vehicle, we are sparing no expense on the vehicle exterior, which is predominantly steel,” Vittorini claims.
GM’s commitment to zero emissions means electric vehicles, which Vittorini said would have ‘new faces’ and more sensing capabilities, but ‘the sensing capability will be less visible’ than prototypes GM had today. “We need crisper metal,” Vittorini said. “We need the ability to see through metal or redirect sensing around metal, which is a huge challenge.” GM also planned “thinner lights” and “more technology” with illuminated emblems, logo lamps, and appearance packages.