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GM cars get new brains, nervous system for self-driving EV era

GM on Monday unveiled a new electronic platform for future vehicles — essentially giving them a transplant of the brain and central nervous system — that will power advanced self-driving features and enable future software updates like smartphones.

Why it matters: As cars become more advanced, their electrical systems are rapidly reaching their limits. GM's new digital vehicle platform, with 5 times more processing speed than today's systems, will power smarter, electric vehicles that can improve over time, similar to what Tesla is already doing.

The big picture: Legacy carmakers are burdened by older electronic architectures that have gotten more complex with every new feature that is added. Tesla, which has only been building cars for a decade, started from a clean sheet with future capabilities in mind.

  • GM's new digital platform goes into production later this year on the 2020 Cadillac CT5 sedan, and will be rolled out to most of its global vehicles by 2023.
  • The technology powers an electronic system is capable of managing up to 4.5 terabytes of data processing power per hour, and will improve communications thanks to faster Ethernet connections.
  • It will have cybersecurity benefits as well.

What they're saying: “The critical role of software and its importance to our vehicles, both now and for years to come, cannot be overstated,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “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.”