General Motors Corp, the driving force behind the MAP Manufacturing Automation Protocol factory networking standards, is to be relegated to a lower profile role within the US MAP User Group. The move is part of a radical restructuring of the user group planned for next year which will also strip the group of its two key funding sources, the Society for Manufacturing Engineers and the International Technical Institute. Both bodies say that they want to be relieved of the heavy financial burden of running the user group, which they have borne largely alone, and by next year the group will have to be a lot more self sufficient. Chuck Gardener, chairman of the user group claimed that the decision to make GM’s loom less large in the group’s legend was mutual: We agreed there was a need to move away from the leader company concept he said. MAP was the brainchild of GM and the progress of the technology and the two have been closely associated since its inception in 1985. Gardener said that GM would no longer chair all the working group commitees and admitted that this could result in a change of priorities. GM caused another stir in the manufacturing world earlier this month week when it announced that it would be implementing the 2.1 version of MAP at a further three plants at a time when the industry awaits the incompatible 3.0 specification. MAP 3.0 is planned to be on on show for the first time in the US at the Enterprise Networking Event at Baltimore in June.