Summer Newsletter

Summer Newsletter
June 28, 2023

  • GM calls on Congress to pass a federal data privacy law to protect consumers.
  • The law must avoid blanket prohibitions and overly prescriptive requirements on AI, machine learning, and other automated decision-making systems that strengthen driver support features, advanced safety technologies, and more. Targeting real risks, while permitting innovation.

The automotive industry is leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to integrate driver support features, advanced safety technologies, and automated driving systems into vehicles. These and other advances in technology have the potential to protect vulnerable road users, reduce serious injuries and deaths, improve roadway safety, and mitigate environmental impacts.

Though autos have long been using AI in vehicle safety and convenience features, recent months have witnessed a rapid introduction of more obvious AI technology to the everyday consumer, like the public release of chatbot ChatGPT. This has prompted policymakers to seek to quickly educate themselves on the technology, identify the concerns it raises, and consider its potential impacts on the rules-of-the-road. In recent months, members of Congress and regulators have rolled out legislative proposals and policy statements designed to address public concerns about AI. These policymakers have emphasized that, while new protections may be needed, existing legislaton like the FTC Act and various civil rights laws apply to decisions made by computers, just as they do to humans.

AI is a versatile technology that can be applied in a myriad of ways. Being mindful of this, it is important that the automotive industry does not get swept up in burdensome laws and regulations intended for other industries.

Any restrictions on automated decisions should be fact-based and target real risks, while allowing for advancements in technology and innovation.

GM is also a founding member of the Data & Trust Alliance which promotes responsible AI practices.
Summer Newsletter
June 28, 2023

  • There is a global race for automotive technology and artificial intelligence, and it is imperative that the U.S. is the leader in autonomous vehicles.
  • American companies are ahead from a technological perspective, but notably behind with respect to public policy, which is why GM is pushing for passage of federal AV legislation.

As automobiles and artificial intelligence evolve, fully autonomous vehicles are no longer a fantasy. However, compared to other countries, like China, France, Germany and the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. is late to the game in passing AV legislation, leaving the country, U.S. businesses, and consumers at a distinct disadvantage. GM is leading the effort to pass federal AV legislation in Congress to create a pathway for commercial deployment in the US and protect global competitiveness.

Cruise, GM’s AV majority owned subsidiary, is among other AV developers conducting testing in the U.S., but until new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) include driverless vehicles, there is no clear path to the commercial deployment of these vehicles. Currently, manufacturers must petition the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for exemptions to deploy driverless AVs without human driver controls. Unfortunately, these exemptions are only valid for two years and limited to 2,500 vehicles per year, for each manufacturer.

Congress should increase the existing cap on temporary exemptions, which in turn, would promote the continued development of autonomous driving technology in the U.S. by signaling to AV manufacturers and developers that there is a near-term path to deploying AV technologies. Bipartisan negotiations for AV legislation are ongoing in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. As a result of our efforts, we expect legislative activity to pick up momentum in July.
Summer Newsletter
June 28, 2023

  • As other automakers have removed AM radio from their vehicles, ALL current GM vehicles in the U.S. still have these receivers and no statement has been made concerning removing the feature.
  • GM is committed to ensuring customers continue to have access to FEMA emergency alerts and information.
AM RADIO – “AM for Every Vehicle Act”

While federal policymakers are focused on evolving technologies like artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles, there are efforts to hold on to a century-old technology — AM radio.

ALL current GM vehicles in the U.S. have AM radio receivers and though no statement has been made concerning removing the feature, radio technology has changed significantly since AM radio was first introduced in the 1920’s.

Electric Vehicle (EV) propulsion systems generate interference with AM radio signals. According to Consumer Guide, “Frequencies generated by EV motors happen to be comparable in wavelength to AM radio signals. The competing signals clash, effectively cancelling each other, as if they were opposing forces. As EV motors grow more powerful, AM static tends to increase.” Studies show a steady decline in AM radio usage, but the technical solutions required to ensure quality AM radio adds cost to every vehicle whether the AM radio is used or not.

After some manufacturers indicated that they will or already have eliminated AM radio from their vehicles, the National Association of Broadcasters launched a campaign to guarantee AM radio in all new vehicles. In response, a set of bipartisan lawmakers introduced the “AM for Every Vehicle Act,” which would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue regulations mandating automakers include AM broadcast in their vehicles. Supporters for the mandate argue that AM radio is heavily relied upon in rural America, where broadband is limited, and that it provides the public with critical information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during natural disasters and other emergencies.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, Consumer Technology Association, Zero Emission Transportation Association and TechNet released a joint letter to Congress opposing the proposal arguing that it would hinder innovation and ignore evolving consumer preferences and freedom of choice. The groups also note multiple ways the public can receive emergency alerts.

Summer Newsletter
June 28, 2023

  • The required vehicle data shared by manufactures with customers and third parties is defined too broadly in all proposed and enacted legislation — beyond what is needed for vehicle repair.
  • Allowing access to bidirectional data creates significant cybersecurity and consumer privacy risks that could compromise customer safety.
  • GM and other automakers have made available all of the diagnostic and repair information that is needed to service a vehicle safely and securely as part of our commitment to the 2014 agreement with the aftermarket — consumer choice will not change.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is among the many stakeholders that have highlighted tremendous concerns with mandates for direct access to vehicle data, including the ability to send and receive commands, which presents real risks to the security of customers’ vehicles.

Auto aftermarket, insurance, and rental car companies are aggressively calling for legislators at the federal and state levels to mandate access to vehicle data as part of a campaign appearing to advocate for consumers’ right to choose. These groups claim that independent auto shops and vehicle owners do not have access to the parts or data needed to repair vehicles.

GM and key stakeholders are engaging policymakers on security and privacy concerns around the right-to-repair movement. Additionally, we have had direct engagement with the aftermarket industry to discuss possible alternatives moving forward. GM is also working directly with the Alliance for Automotive Innovation (AAI) to negotiate an updated Right to Repair Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among all relevant stakeholders.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because we have been here before. In 2014, after a Massachusetts ballot measure passed on automotive repair, groups like the Auto Care Association and the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality, amongst other vehicle manufacturers, developed a 50-state national solution and entered a MOU. Yet, opponents argue that the existing MOU is outdated and excludes wireless data (telematics) transmitted directly to/from manufacturers and vehicles.

What’s Happening:

At the federal level: In February of 2023, the REPAIR Act (H.R. 906) was re-introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and referred to a relevant subcommittee, where it has remained. On March 28, several State Attorneys General issued a letter to committees in both the House and Senate asking that they “redouble [their] efforts in the 118th Congress to pass expansive Right-to-Repair legislation.”

At the state level: In 2020, Massachusetts passed a ballot initiative to update its “Right-to-Repair” law to include telematics. Shortly after the initiative passed, AAI filed a federal lawsuit against the state. Though the case is still being deliberated, Massachusetts Attorney General, Andrea Campbell, announced the law would be enforced starting June 1, 2023. She has not reversed that decision, but in response, NHTSA released a letter in June to automakers stating that law in Massachusetts conflicts with the federal motor vehicle safety laws and that the state law is preempted. In Maine, a nearly identical initiative has collected enough signatures to qualify for the November 2023 ballot.

Summer Newsletter
June 28, 2023

Your voice makes a difference.

Beyond raising awareness about issues important to GM, GM Engage periodically calls on employees to participate in our legislative efforts. By sending pre-drafted emails to your legislators on pressing issues, you can add your voice and help make a difference.

In May, GM Engage reached out to colleagues and retirees in select districts throughout California and Texas, calling on them to contact their state legislators on issues important to GM. THANK YOU to those that helped make your voice, and GMs heard — you helped make a difference!