DETROIT — General Motors remains the No. 1 innovator for the fourth consecutive quarter among 183 companies ranked by The Patent Board in its quarterly automotive and transportation industry scorecard.

GM was granted 1,123 U.S. patents in 2011 applied to global product engineering, global powertrain engineering, global research and development and OnStar organizations.

The Patent Board is an independent provider of best practices research tools and metrics for patent analysis and intellectual property investment. It tracks and analyzes innovation and patents across 17 industries on a global basis.

Among GM’s recent technology patents:
* Quieter brakes – A friction-damped disc brake design that uses a thin metal ring embedded in the brake rotor to absorb vibrations and mute the squeal. The quieter brake is expected to be available on some cars and trucks within two to three years.
* OnStar Voice Recognition – OnStar’s speech recognition method can identify the location of the speaker within the vehicle and adjusts its microphone pick-up pattern or magnitude to respond to location-specific commands.
* eAssist Thermal Management – Vehicles with engine shut-off capability, such as Buick LaCrosse with eAssist, use an innovative thermal management system that maintains occupant comfort during engine-shut off, and prevents engine shut-off if comfort will be lost, such as during extremely cold or hot weather conditions.

“We are in the midst of redefining the automotive DNA, and these efforts are driving our people to reinvent every subsystem on the vehicle” said Alan Taub, GM vice president of Global Research and Development. “Being the recognized leader in innovation is important, because it tells our customers and shareholders that we are working on the leading edge of technology.”


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