GM CARousel

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The GM CARousel has leveraged the initial concepts behind the GM AUTOnomy and Hy-Wire to become the interior design expression and technical exploration of the Reinvention of the Automobile. The CARousel is characterized by its extreme flexibility of use: the driver has the opportunity to select from a range of driving positions and innovative driving controls.

Carousel Driving Controls

The GM CARousel is the world’s first vehicle to have been designed and built solely using math modeling CAD software. It explores design and user freedoms that have been made possible by the advances in by-wire systems. By eliminating the traditional mechanical linkages in automobiles, new driver controls and advanced-design steering wheels can be developed. In this physical and conceptual embodiment of the Reinvention of the Automobile, there are no foot pedals—instead, hand controls are used to steer, brake, and accelerate. Drivers can select from two steering controls: a steering wheel folded and stowed beneath the seat, or rotary-grip joysticks nestled in both the left and right arm rests. Due to the nature of their designs, both systems allow the driver to drive with the left or right—or both—hands, thus offering new mobility options.

All aspects of the concept were developed using Solidworks Modeling Software. They were then finessed into reality during an avant garde design-to-execution project with Stile Bertone in Italy. From design to build, every surface was modeled and built in 3-D, thus bypassing the traditional and time-consuming process of clay modeling, digital surface scans, finessing the shape in math, and then finalizing the design and engineering data for release.

The CARousel features four seats. The two front seats change positions by moving the driver from left to center-front to right. With a flick of a switch, drivers can select their driving position (center-drive, left-hand-drive, right-hand-drive) as well as choose between two unique electric steering systems. Through rigorous field testing, these new driving systems have proven themselves to be more responsive than traditional steering wheels and foot pedals (gas and brake). This technological breakthrough thus adds an extra layer of vehicle safety for both drivers and passengers.

GM Carousel Development


The GM CARousel offers a vision of how to create an extremely flexible car interior that offers the freedom of selecting where to sit, where to drive, and how to drive. With its wide range of driving positions and controls, The CARousel offers unlimited possibilities for vehicle body design and quick and easy customization possibilities. The GM CARousel is based on the Hy-Wire Skateboard and the extended-range, 300-mile GM Sequel Skateboard. It possesses all of the technological advancements offered by electrified and/or zero-emissions architecture.

CARousel Inventor

The General Motors Carousel
The GM Carousel

GM CARousel Advanced By-Wire Rotary Hand Grips

SELECT WHERE TO SIT: Seats are affixed to a rotating base, and that base offers variable driving positions: left-hand, right-hand, or front-and-center positions.  Selecting a seating position is simple and can be done with a remote control. Once a position has been selected, the rotating base swivels towards the desired orientation, with the front two seats synchronized to pivot and face forward.

SELECT HOW TO DRIVETwo selectable and innovative driving controls (without conventional foot pedals) take a universal approach and allow the driver to use either the right hand, left hand, or both hands. The system is completely by-wire—there are no mechanical linkages—and it can greatly benefit disabled drivers. Either steering device moves into position when a remote-control device is used to make the selection. Applied research indicates that hand braking yields a faster response time than does foot-pedal braking. 

BY-WIRE STEERING WHEEL CONTROLS: When the driver presses downwards with the thumb, a modified steering wheel stowed under the seat (when not in use) enables acceleration; braking is achieved by pulling forward a paddle on the steering wheel. The right-hand and left hand-paddles move in harmony with the steering wheel, allowing the driver to steer right or left (with optimized efficiency due to limited steering rotation eliminating hand-over-hand driving). Neither hand has to come off the steering wheel to drive, and the system can be driven with the right hand, left hand, or with both hands. 

BY-WIRE ROTARY HAND CONTROLS: An armrest pocket and joystick-type hand controller swivels in a rotary motion for driving and pivots down into a stowage position from each side of the driver’s seat when not in use. Steering is achieved by rotating the wrist right and left (causing less stain and stress than a joystick), accelerating by pulling back the index finger, and braking by squeezing the remaining three fingers on the steering grip.  If the user inadvertently squeezes the acceleration toggle and the brake grip at the same time, the system will trigger the braking function. Each hand controller is software-enhanced for driving and is synchronized with the other; each can be driven with the right hand, left hand, or with both hands. 

CAROUSEL UNVEILING: The GM CARousel—also referred to as the Stile Bertone CARousel and the General Motors CARousel—was unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show in 2004. The year before that, it made an early showcase appearance at the TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) conference in Monterey, California. In 2005, it was shown at the Geneva International Motor Show. A showing at the Essen Motor Show in Germany followed in 2007.

When the rotary hand grips rotate, the front tires rotate in show mode. A remote-control device allows the base of the CARousel to rotate, too, moving the driver’s seat from the left to the center and from the center to the right. The remote control also automates the presentation and stowage of the advanced steering wheel (as it swings out from below the seat and into place) and the articulation of the rotary hand controls (imbedded in the side arm rests).

CAROUSEL PROGRAM CHAMPIONS: CEO & Chairman Rick Wagoner and Vice President of R&D Larry Burns + support from Robert A. Lutz

CAROUSEL RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT: Chief Architect Adrian Chernoff with Support from Wayne Cherry, Chris Borroni-Bird, Andrew Hanzel, Joseph Szczerba, Jim Embach, J. Byron McCormick, and Alan Taub

CAROUSEL DESIGN TEAM: Vice President of Design Ed Welburn, Executive Director Anne Asensio and Lead Designer: Julien Montousse

STILE BERTONE VEHICLE AND CHASSIS BUILD: Roberto Piatti, Anna Costamagna, Massimiliano Chiara, Eugenio Paliano, Claudio Marini, and Giuliano Biasio

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT: Jim Queen, Mark Hogan, Nick Pudar, Frank Saucedo, Kathy Marra, Chris Quinn, Robert Corbett, Jean McCarthy, Fred Ritche, Advanced Portfolio Exploration Group (APEX), GM Innovation Zone, Sarah DeVries, John Taylor, John Shettler, and Wayne Cherry


GM CARousel Front Center Drive Concept Sketch

GM CARousel Left Hand Drive Concept Sketch
Bertone Carsousel Design Sketch

Carousel Concept Design
Carousel Concept Math Model
Carsousel Modeled in Solidworks

Wheel Turning Test in Solidworks
Bertone Carousel in Solidworks
GM Carousel in Solidworks

Carousel in paint booth
GM Carousel pre-assembly
GM Carousel Floor Design

GM Carousel in Construction
Bertone Carousel in Development
Bertone Carousel with Steering Wheel

Bertone Carousel with Controllers Stowed


With VW as their sponsor, the Berne University of Applied Science (BFH-TI) in Switzerland and the CTI (the Swiss Confederation's innovation promotion agency) have developed a drive-by-wire steering system with joystick-type handles. The system is called Joysteer. It’s identical to the GM CARousel rotary hand controls and has taken several years to develop. The Joysteer system has already been incorporated into vehicles that are used by disabled people. Over 20 people with disabilities have utilized this system and found it to be an excellent way to steer a vehicle.

As the winner of  the Swiss Technology Award in 2006, the Joysteer may well be the future of mobility! In 2009, Joysteer (from Bozzio Ltd.) spun off from the university and went into limited production. The target market will have over 300,000 users throughout Europe. Joysteer (the car driving system) is available from Bever Car Products and is currently available for some VW and Chrysler models, with more vehicles and brands to be announced. Joysteer Video 1 Joysteer Video 2




General Motors CAROUSEL: Reinventing Driving

Carousel Car
GM Carousel with Hand Controlers
GM Carousel with Steering Wheel
GM Carousel Steering, Braking, and Accelerating
GM Carousel Rotary Drive
GM Carousel Rotary Drive Joystick
GM Carousel Steering Wheel
GM Carousel with Alan Alda
GM Carousel with Alan Alda and Adrian Chernoff

GM CARousel with all Drive Controllers Stowed
GM Carousel side profile
GM Carousel with Controllers Stowed