General Motors has had its fair share of game changing innovations within the automotive industry, including the first turbocharged engine, and the first airbag for a vehicle. But let’s take a moment to look outside of the automotive arena, and see where GM has applied its innovation elsewhere. Here are six General Motors innovations that reach outside of the automotive landscape, and show the company’s forward-thinking attitude at its finest.
1945: Sloan Kettering Institute Established
In the 1940s, two prominent GM executives, Alfred P. Sloan and Charles F. Kettering, joined forced to establish the Sloan Kettering Institute, or SKI. Since then, the Sloan Kettering Institute has become a leader in U.S. biomedical institutions. In 1960, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was also added.
1952: First Mechanical Open-Heart Surgery Heart Pump
In the 20th century, heart disease was an instant death sentence. But, General Motors reversed that in 1952. GM researched and developed the first mechanical open-heart surgery pump. The first successful surgery with the new device? Right in Detroit, Michigan. The mechanical pump rests with the GM Heritage Center to this day.
1969: GM Develops Apollo Moon Program Guidance System
The swinging sixties brought with it a race to the moon. President John F. Kennedy promised the American people a man on the moon by the end of the decade. His promised was fulfilled with the help up General Motors. GM developed the Apollo Moon Program’s guidance system, through its AC electronics division. This includes the inertial guidance and navigation system used in the very first landing on the moon that same year.
1971: GM Helps Develop Lunar Rover
As well as develop the guidance system for the Apollo Moon Program, General Motors also had a hand in the lunar rover in 1971. GM was responsible for all mobility systems and components in the lunar rover deployed during Apollo 15.
2010: EN-V Personal Mobility Concept
The 2010 EN-V wasn’t really a car, as much as it was a personal transport device. Therefore, it lands on this list. To address congestion in large cities, as well as fight pollution, GM introduced the EN-V personal mobility concept in 2010 at the World Expo in Shanghai. The concept utilizes battery-electric propulsion and high maneuverability to make an efficient, yet versatile package.
2014: First Automaker With A Female CEO
So, this one technically does fall into the automotive industry, but it doesn’t truly have to do with an innovative automotive technology or any sort. In 2014, Mary Barra was named CEO of General Motors. Barra has inherited a plethora of issues, but continues to steer GM towards an even brighter, and profitable, future.