August 8, 2007 in Business

Center to study car, truck safety

The Spokesman-Review
 

A nonprofit research center and a trade group will open a center in Ann Arbor, Mich., next month to test new technology that will allow cars and trucks to interact with each other and make highways safer, officials said Tuesday.

The Center for Automotive Research and the Connected Vehicle Trade Association will open the center with help from a $3.1 million state grant, allowing advanced testing and evaluation of connected vehicle technologies, officials said in a statement.

Among the technologies to be tested are vehicle-to-vehicle signals letting drivers know that someone is stopped ahead of them, or braking hard. Signals also could be sent to drivers to warn them about road construction, lane changes or emergency vehicles, officials said during a presentation at an industry conference in Traverse City.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the state Department of Transportation will support the testing, MDOT said in the statement.

Detroit

GM wraps up sale of Allison

General Motors Corp. said Tuesday it has completed the sale of its Allison Transmission commercial and military business to The Carlyle Group and Onex Corp. for $5.6 billion.

The sale, announced in June, includes seven manufacturing plants in Indianapolis and its global distribution network and sales offices.

A production facility in Baltimore, which produces conventional and hybrid transmissions for pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, will remain with GM.

Detroit-based GM said in a statement that it would use the money to strengthen its liquidity and support investments in new products and technology.

Indianapolis-based Allison designs and builds commercial-duty automatic transmissions, hybrid propulsion systems and parts for trucks and buses, off-highway equipment and military vehicles. The company boasts an 80 percent market share of all medium- and heavy-duty commercial transmissions, with annual revenue of more than $2 billion.

The Carlyle Group is a Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm.

San Diego

Judge: Qualcomm lost patent rights

A federal judge has found that Qualcomm Inc. waived its rights to enforce two patents on compressing video signals because it deliberately concealed them from an industry standard-setting group.

The company’s behavior suggests “extremely foul play” and exposes “a carefully orchestrated plan and the deadly determination of Qualcomm to achieve its goal of holding hostage the entire industry” that would use the H.264 video compression standard, wrote U.S. District Judge Rudi Brewster.

The ruling, dated Monday, came in one of several patent disputes between chipmakers Qualcomm and Broadcom Corp.

Qualcomm initiated the case, suing Broadcom in October 2005 on claims that its rival violated patents on technology that is used to compress video signals in DVD players, digital televisions and other music players.


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