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This is what the future of mobility in San Francisco looks like (according to Hyundai)

Hyundai's Executive Vice Chairman Euisun Chung talks about the future of mobility and cities at the Mobility Innovators Forum.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

They have a vision. Hyundai Motor Group is showcasing its mobility solutions using a stylized version of what the company sees is a version of the future of San Francisco.

The overall aesthetic is like something straight out of the era when Isaac Asimov dared people to dream about Daneel Olivaw solving crimes and the Space Race was exciting school children and their parents alike.

It features a lush paradise, something that anyone who has been to San Francisco recently can attest is a far cry from its modern existence. Drones fly by the Golden Gate Bridge while gardens and water features play prominently.

San Francisco 2050 Hyundai's team has come up with their version of what San Francisco could look like by 2050.Image courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Rather than robots taking charge, like what the crew from Boston Dynamics would have you believe is imminent, Hyundai is taking a human-centric (and perhaps more realistic) approach to their vision of the future, as presented during a keynote speech delivered by Executive Vice Chairman Euisun Chung at the Mobility Innovators Forum.

Hyundai put forth their philosophy that "technology and innovation should be directed towards serving the needs of people."

"Cities and mobility services were developed for humans from the very beginning," said Chung. "That's why we are making a wide range of efforts to study a human-centered future from a broader humanities perspective."

As a way of following through on their principle, Hyundai Motor Group has set up the Human-Centered City Advisory Group, which is comprised of experts with engineering, urban planning, and psychology backgrounds. Using their input, the Group has been developing a blueprint for future cities over the last year with the goal of publishing the research results by 2020.

Hyundai Motor Group has also been conducting the 2050 Future City Project to make predictions on future cities in different regions to serve as a guideline for future smart city development.

The Mobility Innovators Forum is a conference hosted by Hyundai CRADLE that is deigned to bring together leaders in the technology, energy, policy, design, and academia fields to discuss challenges and opportunities in development.

Hyundai CRADLE is Hyundai Motor Group's corporate venturing and open innovation business, which partners and invests in global startups in a number of fields.

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The Cruise Origin self-driving vehicle has been revealed.

Photo courtesy of Cruise LLC

Cruise has passed on a steering wheel, a rearview mirror, and pedals in its new Origin electric vehicle. The ride share mobility solution debuted last night in San Francisco was co-developed by the arm of General Motors in cooperation with Honda.

In addition to the self-driving aspect of the news, the biggest innovation with the vehicle is that it is nothing like the any other GM alternative fuel mobility solution. There's not really speck of Bolt in the design.

It's actually more like the Navy shuttle than the Bolt, resembling the most modern of train cars. Its exterior is smooth and not aerodynamic. Its sliding doors open wide via a sliding mechanism rather than outward like a traditional car door. There's a display area featuring a number on the outside of the vehicle to help with rider-vehicle identification.

The Origin is the same size as a full-size sedan but seats six in a different configuration than the typical car. It has a 78-inch height, which means it can still park in most garages.

Inside, the vehicle seats six on two sets of three seats that share a large space for legroom and bags.

What's more notable is what the Origin is lacking. There's no driver's seat, pedals, steering wheel, windshield wipers, gauges, nor rearview mirror. Because there's no driver, there's no need for that. Cruise has said that the vehicle features SAE Level 4 autonomy. In layman's terms, that means that a computer controls all the functionality of the vehicle and is contained within its service area only by things like a speed limiter or geofence.

Its software has been co-developed by GM and Honda.

Cruise hasn't divulged powertrain or range information.

In January, the federal government released a new set of guidelines concerning self-driving vehicles.

Under Cruise's plans, no individual will own the Origin. The ride sharing vehicles will be summoned via an app and offer ride service to anywhere in the vehicle's service area. The defined regions of the service area and fares associated with a ride have yet to be announced.

So, it's just an app-controlled electric short bus, right? Yes.

Cruise says that the model is ready for production and plans to that end will be announced shortly.

A new technology developed by General Motors may change the trailering experience as we know it, making it safer for everyone involved.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

For some folks, towing a trailer is second nature. It's like riding a bicycle or going for a swim. But for a vast majority of others, towing can be intimidating, scary and even downright dangerous. No matter what category you fall into, truck makers have been working feverishly to come up with new and exciting technologies to make towing easier and safer for you.

One of the biggest challenges of towing, at least at speed, is the abrupt need to come to a stop. Whether it be someone pull out in front of you or the traffic light turned red sooner than you'd expect. Towing down a grade in high winds can create even more issues.

eBoost braking assist trailer This diagram shows the impact of the new eBoost technology.Photo courtesy of General Motors

To help with towing and stopping, electronic trailer brake controllers are common on rigs that tow. They help control the trailer by apply the brakes in the trailer. Setting up a trailer brake control is often described as an art, not a science.

That's where new General Motors tech comes in. Using their electronic brake system from their heavy-duty pickup, the company has fitted it to a trailer for the purpose of improving braking. Their goal was to equip a trailer with the company's eBoost braking system and see how well they could stop with it.

Their goal was to take a 2020 Silverado HD without a trailer and see how far it took to stop. Then they attached a trailer with 9,000 pounds and set a target of stopping in the same distance. They were within three feet.

That means in a full-on, emergency stop scenario a truck towing a 9,000-pound trailer can stop as short as a truck without a trailer. Not to overwhelm you with hyperbole, but that is a game changer.

Why? There's no complicated setup of the trailer brake controller. The equipment already exists, and GM managed to do it with around $1,000 worth of hardware that's already available. It would require a trailer manufacturer to integrate it with their trailers, but the safety benefits are huge.

Unlike some aftermarket anti-lock braking systems, primarily from Bosch, this system communicates with the truck, and can even use electronic stability control to reduce trailer sway.

It's a prototype at this point. GM is hoping to find a trailer maker to help develop the technology. The marketing department is still figuring out all of the details, but in addition to offering it on a brand-new trailer, it might even be possible for certain dealerships or installers to add it to existing trailers after the fact.

While there is a truck war going on with how can tow and haul the most, the efforts that GM is making right now for improving towing safety, such as their invisible trailering system and this prototype trailer brake system, makes the roads safer for everyone – even if they don't drive a GM.