GM has filed a patent application for a vehicle assembly system that can support and move the vehicle during assembly using the vehicle’s onboard power supply, potentially resulting in power savings during the production process.
The GM patent filing was assigned application number US 2023/0242384 A1 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and was published on August 3rd, 2023. The patent was originally filed on January 28th, 2022, and lists several Michigan-based engineers as the inventors, including James W. Wells, Michael R. Kaphengst, Alfred Manser, Barry L. Farmer, and Seog-Chan Oh.
The patent describes a system that can reposition a vehicle during the assembly process using the vehicle’s own power. The way this is accomplished is by a platform that supports the vehicle and incorporates a passive motion device on one side of the platform that moves upon actuation. The mechanical actuator is driven by movement of one or more vehicle wheels, changing the overall position of the vehicle. The position of the vehicle remains unchanged in relation to the platform.
As the patent points out, vehicles must be moved between two or more stations in certain settings, such as to install various parts when the vehicle is assembled. The process by which vehicles are moved during assembly is typically via some kind of conveyor system that requires external power. As such, “it is desirable to provide a vehicle-powered device to change the vehicle position,” per the recent GM patent.
This system would be particularly useful for EVs, which can activate driven wheels with precise torque and without local emissions.
The new patent follows an earlier filing that details a vehicle assembly system that can autonomously complete a partially assembled vehicle, which could potentially streamline the vehicle assembly process. Check out GM Authority’s previous coverage for more information.