General Motors houses a specific department meant for incubating and creating some solutions not uncommon to sci-fi films. It’s called the GM Innovation Group, and Wards Auto recently received a tour of the facility.
Of course, some of the darkest projects were kept in the shadows, but peering into the facility showed how GM is approaching transportation for the future. In fact, the group looks ahead 10 years down the road to see what the automobile could become.
The group is responsible for a handful of projects that have been made public. They include the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, a fuel-cell-powered military vehicle, and SURUS, GM’s self-driving skateboard platform for multiple industries.
The group often works quickly and head of the unit, Nate Fitzpatrick, said there’s no fear of bad ideas. Even if a corporate business case doesn’t present itself, the unit pushes forward. Those ideas include campfire-style seating and reclining seats for self-driving cars, and even video games in-car.
GM Innovation often works with outside companies to gain new perspective and ideas from outside the automotive industry, too. Partners include Microsoft and Exxon.
Inside of the GM Innovation group also resides Studio Y—a place for employees to design their ideas and pitch them to executives. The studio has also spurred a “Shark Tank” style competition where teams develop an idea and receive the chance to pitch it to top leaders, including GM CEO Mary Barra.