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When GMC was trying to get us hyped for the Hummer EV, they showed us crab mode. Fun features, especially in off-roaders, are all the rage, so it’s good to know that the Hummer’s were designed by someone who has built 12 off-road racers from the ground up.

Mike Colville is GM’s senior manager of complex feature integration, but, according to the Detroit Free Press, he just calls himself “the features dude.” That makes him the leader of the team that created CrabWalk, which allows the Hummer to drive diagonally; extract mode, which literally lifts the Hummer out of deep terrain; and Ultravision, which adds waterproof cameras under the truck to help you avoid big boulders and the like.

Many of the features come from Colville’s own experiences in off-road racing. In his career, he has built 12 cars by hand that compete in Ultra4 endurance races. These “cars” are better described as tube-frame buggies that can be powered by big V8s making up to 800 hp and fly across the desert at speeds of more than 100 mph.

Read Also: GMC Hummer EV Heads To Michigan For Winter Testing

“It was scary, fun, exhilarating and I’m proud,” Colville told the Free Press in an interview. “There was nothing I liked better than driving in the dust. It brought that competitive spirit out in me.”

In many ways, it was his off-road racing days that got him on the Hummer project. Having just returned from China in 2019, where he developed performance features for cars, he liked to talk off-road racing to Josh Tavel. Tavel was the chief engineer on the Hummer project, so he invited Colville onto the team to make sure there were off-road features. Immediately, he started thinking about his buggies.

“In my race car, I would constantly break half shafts,” he said, so he designed an algorithm to protect the Hummer’s half-shafts. “It knows what angle the shaft is at and knows what it can take.”

Ride height control was another feature that Colville wanted. Ride height is an important factor for off-road racing. It’s all well and good to go fast, but if you’re hitting rocks you won’t finish the race. That led to the Hummer’s extract mode, which lifts the car by up to 6 inches to allow it to get over obstacles.

“Crabwalk,” meanwhile, came from his days in rock crawling. Those trucks have four wheel steering to help them turn on a dime and when he realized that the Hummer did, too, inspiration struck.

“When we were deciding to make an off-road vehicle with rear steer on it, I said, ‘Well I had a vehicle with rear steer before.’ We thought about putting a lever on the vehicle that a person could use, but that was way too complicated even for rock crawl drivers,” said Colville. “So we invented CrabWalk that can go either the same or opposite direction as the front wheels.”

Colville also designed a tire-pressure honk. When you’re off-roading, you often have to deflate tires to get better traction. Usually, that means deflating a little, checking the pressure, deflating a little more, checking again, and so on. Colville thought there must be a better way, so he designed a system that allows the driver to input a desired tire pressure in the infotainment. When they deflate the tires to that level, the Hummer honks at them to let them know.

Fortunately, coming up with all of these features was, though not easy, didn’t exactly feel like work. According to Colville, working on the Hummer hasn’t been hard “because I am entertaining myself with a project that fits right into my hobbies.”

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For many car enthusiasts, the Autobahn is viewed as motoring nirvana, but things can turn from sweet to sour in the blink of an eye, as this video shows.

This clip was filmed from the helmet camera being used by the driver of a BMW M4 and shows him hitting speeds of around 174 mph (280 km/h). At the 15-second mark, the BMW driver is quite late to brake to avoid a slow-moving hatchback in the fast lane but when it gets out of the way, he quickly hits the throttle once again and starts to accelerate to over 167 mph (270 km/h).

However, at the 48-second mark of the clip, a maroon-colored Mazda3 changes into the fast lane to overtake a Ford Fiesta, crossing directly into the path of the BMW.

Watch Also: Red Light Runner Comes Within Inches Of Taking Out A Motorcyclist

The M4 driver is forced to slam on the brakes to avoid rear-ending the Mazda and apparently managed to slow from 174 mph to 87 mph (140 km/h) in just a few seconds. Had the BMW driver been a little later to react or had the Mazda driver made the lane change a touch later, the two might have collided and the results may have been devastating.

One could say that the driver of the Mazda is primarily to blame for the near-miss. Changing into the fast lane of the Autobahn isn’t something you should ever do without getting a good look at your mirrors to ensure there is no fast-moving traffic behind you. The M4 driver should have also been more careful and perhaps lifted off the throttle while passing slower traffic.

 

The merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe PSA cleared one of its final hurdles earlier this month, but the companies are now facing a last minute objection from Walter P. Chrysler’s great-grandson.

As part of his alternative buyout proposal, Frank B. Rhodes Jr suggests the merged entity not adopt the widely mocked Stellantis name. Instead, he proposes the automaker become known as the “Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram Corporation.”

On top of that, Rhodes wants the company to be headquartered in the United States. His proposal also calls for giving existing management and employees a retention bonus, based on tenure. Furthermore, the proposal says that in “addition to a cash price to be negotiated, and [a] payoff of all existing debt, existing stockholders would receive rights to acquire shares in the buyer entity if it was taken public in the future.”

Walter P. Chrysler

In a statement, Rhodes said “This alternative proposal is, in my opinion, superior to the planned merger and would result in the return to the United States of the Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram brands and away from the proposed Chinese, and foreign control as proposed in the merger.”

While the proposal has little chance of gaining traction, Rhodes filed an objection to the Stellantis merger with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. He is also advising U.S. Senators oppose the merger as it would “remove future profits and technologies from America.”

The last-ditch effort will likely amount to nothing as shareholders are set to approve the merger on January 4th. Following that, the deal should be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2021.