A study of the history of General Motors is sure to bring out interesting facts about the company and its achievements. This American company has seen two wars, the Great Depression, bankruptcy and more.
General Motors has single-handedly worked to make its mark in the automotive industry. But the company has also extended its expertise to the world outside automobiles. Let’s take a look at the non-automotive wonders that have emerged from this company.
1945: Sloan Kettering Institute founded
In the 1940s, two General Motors executives, Alfred P Sloan and Charles F Kettering, joined forces to establish the Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI). This has now become one of the USA’s leading biomedical research institutions. This also led to the formation of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, which oversaw the functioning of the Memorial Hospital and the institute.
1952: First mechanical heart pump
Developed and donated by General Motors to the heart surgery team at Wayne State University in Detroit, the first mechanical heart pump enabled the first open-heart surgery in 1952. It has revolutionised cardiac treatment since.
1969: Apollo moon program guidance system
GM’S AC electronics division developed and manufactured the inertial guidance and navigation system for the entire Apollo moon program. This technology was used in 1969 in the Apollo 11, which was the first manned spaceflight to land on the moon.
1971: Lunar rover
GM was instrumental in the development of the Lunar Rover, as the company supplied the mobility systems and components. This was the first wheeled vehicle to be driven on the moon in 1971 during the Apollo 15 mission.
2010: EN-V personal mobility concept
This year saw General Motors launch its first networked, fully battery-powered personal mobility concept at the World Expo in Shanghai. Called the EN-V, it had dedicated short-ranged communication, sensing, GPS, high manoeuvrability, a compact design, and was aimed at reducing congestion and pollution in large cities.
2014: First automaker with female CEO
Mary Bara took over as CEO of General Motors in 2014. This was the first time an automaker had appointed a female CEO.