Just two weeks after GM announced that Buick will roll out a plug-in hybrid in 2011, the giant automaker has changed its mind. In the GM Fastlane Blog, company vice chairman Tom Stephens wrote last week that the proposed Buick crossover vehicle “received consistent feedback from large parts of all audiences that it didn’t fit the premium characteristics that customers have come to expect from Buick.”
Stephens’ blog went on to explain that plans for the forthcoming Buick were quickly canceled at a GM Executive Committee meeting that he attended along with CEO Fritz Henderson, Bob Lutz, and others. Stephens wrote that “it was decided that if it didn’t belong, it didn’t belong.”
The proposed vehicle was supposed to be a plug-in hybrid that would allow owners to charge the battery when the vehicle was not in use. It would have differed from the Chevy Volt, however, in is use of both electricity and gasoline to drive the wheels.
Numerous Internet sites have credited “Twitterers” for killing off the vehicle with overwhelmingly negative tweets aimed its “ugly” styling. The disparaging name “Vue-ick” – reportedly invented by the Twitterers as a takeoff on the Saturn Vue – quickly took on a life of its own on automotive Internet sites. GM executives are said to have taken the criticism to heart.
“We were all struck by the consistency of the criticism of the compact crossover,” Stephens wrote in his blog.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.