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General Motors develops workplace safety technology

General Motors develops new workplace safety solutions and technology available to the public to boost safety during COVID-19

|Aug 17|magazine8 min read

In a recent announcement made by General Motors, the company details its recent technology developments to maintain workplace safety during COVID-19. General Motors will be sharing its innovations with the public, to be used in manufacturing plants, offices and schools. 

“We developed an extensive playbook for a safe return to work for our employees, and we’re seeing very good success,” commented Dr. Jeffery Hess, GM medical director. “As we implemented the protocols, GM software developers started to work on how technology could make the process smoother and more precise.”

The new technology developed by General Motors includes: an automated kiosk for temperature scanning, software for contact tracing and a mobile app for contactless printing. The solutions developed by General Motors aims to help employees return to work with more confidence, as well as streamlining and improving workplace safety protocols. 

“We had to respond quickly to the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic created for our workforce,” added Randy Mott, GM executive vice president and chief information officer. “Our teams collaborated online with experts around the world to quickly innovate and support the safe return of our employees to the workplace. We know many of these challenges affect others globally. We felt it important to share our innovation so other companies, organisations and institutions could benefit from our experience.”

Thermal Scanning Kiosk

In the announcement, General Motors detailed that facilities require safety protocols that include a temperature evaluation when entering a facility. 

To streamline the entire process, General Motors has developed a new software code that integrates an infrared thermal camera with a computer and monitor, to automate the process.

By leveraging open-source code from the OPenCV project, the system detects automatically when someone walks in front of the camera, checking for elevated skin temperature in as little as one to two seconds. 

Workplace Contact Tracing

In order to drive contact tracing, General Motors has made significant improvements to the technology, by developing an open-source contract tracing application, combined with real time social distance alerts.

“We believe our application advances the state of the art when it comes to mobile apps for contact tracing, which is the subject of massive software development efforts across multiple industries today,” commented Tony Bolton, GM chief information officer of Global Telecommunications and End-User Services.

General Motors is also testing a mobile app to create a record for an employee of who they have been in contact with. The app will be built to help medical staff get in touch with employees who have been in contact with a worker that tested positive, while maintaining privacy and security.  

Touchless Print

As part of its developments General Motors has also built a touchless print mobile web application, to enable employees to print documents without touching the control panel. Instead the application uses a QR code scanned via the employee’s mobile phone, which is not only safer but quicker and simple. 

“Touchless printing is a first step, as the team is also working on using technology to make other daily activities more hands-free,” commented Bolton.

To find out more about General Motors efforts during the pandemic, click here!

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