The 2012 GMC Terrain is putting downward pressure on the price of camera-based forward collision detection and lane departure systems. The new $295 option buys customers a system that reduces the complexity of the setups carried by zooty luxury brands by using a single camera instead of the hybrid camera-laser-radar systems you'll find elsewhere.

The GMC system employs a camera for both collision warning and lane departure functions, relying on software to detect vehicles. Successive video frames are analyzed to determine the trajectory and time to collision unless corrections are made. The brakes are also pre-primed to deliver optimal performance if called upon. Image processing is the key to this system's strength, relying on software number-crunching to pull off what other manufacturers bulk up on hardware to do. For example, at night, the system looks for pairs of lights moving together to help spot other vehicles, and vehicle speed, accelerator and brake application are factored in to help the system figure out what the driver's intent is.

Families want vehicles that do more than just pay lip service to safety, and GMC apparently believes that it shouldn't just be wealthy families that get the best stuff. Video and press release posted after the jump.



Show full PR text
DETROIT – The 2012 GMC Terrain smaller SUV features the industry's first crash avoidance system that exclusively uses a single camera to help drivers avoid front-end and unsignalled lane departure crashes.

Terrain's new active safety system uses a high-resolution digital camera mounted on the windshield ahead of the rearview mirror that looks for shapes of vehicles and lane markings. The system uses audible warnings and a high-mounted visual display to warn the driver if he or she is following another vehicle too closely, when a collision is imminent, or when departing a lane without signaling first.

According to National Automotive Sampling System estimates, rear-end crashes account for approximately 28 percent of the nearly 6 million police-reported incidents that occur annually. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains that the majority of rear-end collisions involve driver inattention, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says forward collision warning systems have the potential to help prevent such crashes.

"Digital image sensors are used in just about everything from cameras to mobile phones to computers and this is making them a more-affordable alternative for use in vehicles," said Raymond Kiefer, General Motors Technical Fellow for crash avoidance systems. "By combining a digital camera with state-of-the-art image processing algorithms, we're able to estimate when a crash may be imminent."

Terrain's warning display contains green "vehicle ahead" and "lanes detected" icons, as well as flashing red "forward collision alert" and amber "lane departure warning" icons that are accompanied by warning chimes. Forward collision alert operates at speeds above 25 mph and warns a driver if they are following too closely or in imminent danger of a front-end crash. When a collision is predicted to be imminent, vehicle brakes are pre-charged to help drivers quickly reach maximum braking.

The forward collision warning software examines each frame captured by the camera – about 14 frames per second – searching for shapes characteristic of vehicles. Detected vehicles are then checked over successive frames for changes in size for calculating time-to-collision. The system also uses speed, directional change, and how the accelerator and brake pedal have been applied to determine when to alert the driver.

In order to operate in varying visibility conditions, the system combines four separate exposures to create each high-resolution image for analysis. This is particularly useful at night when short exposures are needed to get clear images of light sources while long exposures are needed to detect shapes and textures. Night time target recognition is also enhanced by looking for pairs of lights moving together that indicate taillights. The system operates as long as the camera eye is unobstructed, such as by snow or mud.

In addition to searching for other vehicles, the image processor also looks for lane markings to provide lane departure alerts. Available at speeds above 35 mph, the lane departure warning icon shines green when lane markings are detected to indicate the system is active. If the vehicle drifts out of the lane without a turn signal, the lamp switches to flashing amber and is augmented by warning beeps.

The GM camera-based forward collision alert system is listed at the Safercar.gov website as a result of passing three track tests required by the NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program.

"GM is committed to providing protection before, during and after a crash, but the best scenario is to avoid a collision in the first place, and this technology is designed to assist drivers for that purpose," said Gay Kent, GM executive director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness.

This dual-benefit crash avoidance system is available for $295.

About GMC

GMC has manufactured trucks since 1902, and is one of the industry's healthiest brands. Innovation and engineering excellence is built into all GMC vehicles and the brand is evolving to offer more fuel-efficient trucks and crossovers, including the Terrain smaller SUV and Acadia crossover. GMC is the only manufacturer to offer three full-size hybrid trucks with the Yukon, Yukon Denali SUVs and the Sierra pickup. The new Sierra Heavy Duty pickups are the most capable and powerful trucks in the market. Details on all GMC models are available at www.gmc.com, on Twitter at @thisisgmc or at http://www.facebook.com/gmc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 60 Comments
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      $295! This is fantastic. Note to presenter, when you work for GM, you need to enunciate "forward" so it doesn't sounds like you are saying "Ford collision alert system" . Your superiors will appreciate it.
      butwhosays
      • 3 Years Ago
      low cost of entry should help get this widespread
      jgabs69
      • 3 Years Ago
      it would be cheaper if people just learned how to drive better.
      kevsflanagan
      • 3 Years Ago
      You know I have this same technology in my 1996 Nissan 240SX. Get this guys prepared to be amazed! Its called a rear view mirror and two side mirrors! But that's not all.... I got... get this.. turn signals! They alert other drivers as to when I'm leaving a lane! o.0! Also for the so-called blind spot I have. Get this... I turn my head! I know amazing!! Swear technology like this is getting rather annoying. Instead of blind spot detectors why not simply install a small mirror on the bottom of the regular mirror so they can see if anything is in their blind spot? I've seen trucks with them and a few moving van's I've driven have them. As for following to closely guess what technology shouldn't be in charge or negate ones responsibility from knowing how far to stay behind someone AND ensure they are paying attention enough to apply the brakes themselves! Your not helping make the roads safer your making drivers lazier.
        flychinook
        • 3 Years Ago
        @kevsflanagan
        Your side mirrors are already blind spot mirrors, if you adjust them correctly. http://www.cartalk.com/content/features/mirrors/
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        @kevsflanagan
        This isn't a blind spot checking system, it's lane departure warning and front proximity.
      Elmo
      • 3 Years Ago
      As a rider, I find it insulting that manufacturers aren't taking bikes into consideration. If they did, then we wouldn't have to worry about the millions of ignorant drivers out there that don't know how to look for bikes before crossing a major street or coming out of a business' parking lot. This is referring to this system only focusing on a PAIR of tail lights, rather than tail lights in general.
        Agilis
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Elmo
        I don't ride but I would love to know how this system deals with motorcycles and in the event a driver is driving with 1 brake light. If I were to make an educated guess, I would believe that the system would warn the driver in the event it could not determine if it's a vehicle or another type of object. In other words, the system's fail safe is to be always warn the driver.
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Elmo
        The system doesn't work below 25mph anyway, so it won't protect against you not seeing bikes OR cars before crossing a major street or coming out of a business' parking lot. So stop being insulted.
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          That was just 2 of the situations I, and many other riders, experience on a daily basis. I was just using them as an example because it includes all the moronic drivers who choose to not look for bikes while driving.
        Basil Exposition
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Elmo
        One must crawl before walking, Mr. Sensitive.
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Basil Exposition
          Go become a rider and experience how frustrating it is to avoid cars that can't see you on a daily basis.
        Paps
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Elmo
        As a person that was involved in the developing of this system, I can assure you that it does detect motorcycles at both day and night. You are correct that at large distances when all the information in the image of the presence of a bike is it's single tail light, determining the speed is more challenging, yet once the vehilcle gets closer to the bike it enters the area lit by the headlights and then pattern recognition kicks in and the bike is detected as in daytime. At worse this would mean a slight latency in the warning, but would still be very useful to prevent the collison (or at the very least mitigate the impact and reduce the damage). The system can detect single light source vehicles at night. Even a car with a busted tail light...
      Mr. O
      • 3 Years Ago
      Who needs an alert system to tell you your tailgating? I know when im tailgating!! you know why? i got two ******* eyes!
        Sean Conrad
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mr. O
        Two "*******" eyes and you couldn't spot your numerous spelling and grammatical mistakes...
      Gorgenapper
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yet another sign that most SUV drivers aren't actually focused on the task of driving.
        jonnyb22
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Gorgenapper
        Actually not all SUV drivers are bad , some actually do focus on the task at hand. And pay attention to the road and environment and go around asians and pt losers and slow people such as yourself that probably doesn't even drive. Actually is a great thing having a V8 off the line at a light. So yeah in reality there are woman drivers that make me look bad i get that, but just don't single out one bad SUV driver. 6.0 L V8
      WillieD
      • 3 Years Ago
      When are they going to implement a device that detects whether or not the driver is an idiot and consequently won't let them drive if they are?
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      All the computer trickery and safety gadgets in the world can't compare to an attentive driver.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        [blocked]
          Hazdaz
          • 3 Years Ago
          Yeah, I'm sorry, I just don't buy into that defeatist idea of "oh, well everyone is an idiot, so lets just have computers drive for us". I am not disagreeing with you that most (not all, but most) drivers are terrible, but all the gadgets in the world won't stop idiots from being idiots. You can't program every possible solution or every possible accident avoidance into a machine. The real solution is to stop bad drivers from the source... stricter driver's testing. Those people that don't treat driving as a privilege have no business being behind the wheel no matter how many safety gadgets their car might have. I am not saying that this type of tech is bad per se, but its just a bandaid to a much larger problem that should start right at the point of licensing.
          Hazdaz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @ Sea Urchin If Federal highway funds were tied to stricter licensing requirements, you better believe that the states would comply. And when it comes right down to it, tougher rules wouldn't be there to "punish" people - doing something like raising the driving age by 6 months, and/or having newly licensed drivers only able to drive a limited amount of hours for the first 6 months could help tremendously - basically put the PRIVILEGE back into driving, since clearly most parents are too incompetent to try to instill those ideals onto their children. Also concerning the 3 or 4 major safety innovations - honestly, we are already at that level - its called public transit. If people want to relinquish all safety to some other party (be it computer or other person), then just take a bus. @ Rotation More rigorous testing is there to make driving candidates more serious about their job as a driver. Yeah, it doesn't test attentiveness, but when someone takes something seriously, they tend to pay more attention (and not just when they are being tested either). Also I see some of these safety devices as reducing attentiveness - some buzzer going off telling you that you have slipped out of your lane might be so distracting that you end up turning off that feature because of false-positive alerts. And I never said we shouldn't have it, I specifically said that this is only a bandaid solution.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          Testing won't solve this problem. Testing doesn't test attentiveness. And even good drivers can be inattentive at times. This stuff is additional safety equipment. Like anti-lock brakes. Saying we shouldn't have this is akin to saying people would drive better if you took the airbags out of steering wheels and put metal spikes there instead. Does doing that really solve any problems?
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
        Sean Conrad
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        While I tend to agree, even the best, most attentive driver can make mistakes, and even the best, most attentive driver can't always anticipate what a complete jacktard might do. That's why we have seatbelts and airbags and this shiny new alert system.
          Dharmabhum
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Sean Conrad
          If that was really the case Sean (and I agree mostly) they would have included autonomous braking with the FCW system like several OEMs do. That is truly the zenith of anticipating and working to mitigate the consequences of a "complete jacktard" as you put it.
      ReTired
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe they'll hook it into the "OnStar", and if you don't heed the warnings, your vehicle will brake to a stop, parallel-park itself and call for help...or an Officer ?
      Danaon
      • 3 Years Ago
      GM has really been doing a good job on safety lately. Most of their new vehicles are scoring 5 stars on crash tests and have a billion airbags standard.
      turbo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good price point and kudos to them for making it easy to turn on/off. But all this is going to do is make people more unsafe drivers, as they begin to rely on audio/visual warnings and less on their own TWO EYES. I mean seriously, my parents can't even back up/parallel park any more in a car without a rear backup camera. That is just sad. And can you imagine how this system would go haywire in stop/go traffic? Beep Beep Beep! *Flashing red lights*
        DrEvil
        • 3 Years Ago
        @turbo
        Yes, sure it will, just like Anti-Lock brakes and stability control systems did. This is not an attempt to replace the driver, like those systems I names, it is there to assist when the human behind the steering wheel fails. I'm sure your parents were driving before you were born, therefore they can damn well back up a car without a camera if they had to. I hope your mom reads this blog and slaps you silly for telling that one.
        Dharmabhum
        • 3 Years Ago
        @turbo
        Good price point, yes, but the article gives this too much credit. This is the only factory-installed camera-based forward collision system on the market today (camera-only). Camera is the least robust of the sensors used in such applications, though it is the least expensive. Yes the price is low, but you can't draw a trend from two data points, much less one. Get off the "creating unsafe drivers" trip. This is support, and it will not take autonomous control of the vehicle. It is one more buzzer and icon to manage, and it can help you avoid or mitigate a collision that otherwise may have been quite serious.
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