Five years ago, GM engineers, a variety of partner companies, and Carnegie Mellon University built a Chevrolet Tahoe that autonomously traversed 60 miles of urban traffic in less than six hours, taking home the DARPA Urban Challenge win. Later this year, some of that technology will make its way to production in the 2013 Cadillac XTS.

The list of active safety systems in the XTS is easily on par with what the Germans offer, including adaptive cruise control, intelligent brake assist, forward collision alert, automatic collision preparation, lane departure warning, blind spot alert and a heads up display (hit the jump for the full, exhaustive list).

The incorporation of all these systems is something GM is calling "sensor fusion," which combines multiple inputs and serious processing power to, in the words of Bakhtiar Litkouhi, GM Research and Development lab group manager for perception and vehicle control systems, "provide advisory, warning, and control interventions to help drivers avoid collisions and save lives."

It's also the first step in bringing both semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles to market, something Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are all actively working on.

Get a brief primer on the philosophy behind sensor fusion in the video and accompanying release below the fold.





Show full PR text
Sensor Fusion Enables Cadillac Safety Advancements

Technology provides a building block for self-driving vehicles


DETROIT – The all-new 2013 Cadillac XTS, the most technologically advanced production car the luxury brand has ever offered, introduces an advanced active safety and driver assistance system, a significant milestone toward the development of self-driving vehicles.

Coming this fall to XTS, the available Driver Assistance Package is the first General Motors system of its kind to use sensor fusion, which enables integration of a broad range of sensing and positioning technologies that can alert drivers of road hazards and help them avoid crashes.

The system's use of radar, cameras and ultrasonic sensors enables advanced safety features, including:

Rear Automatic Braking
Full-Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control
Intelligent Brake Assist
Forward Collision Alert
Safety Alert Seat
Automatic Collision Preparation
Lane Departure Warning
Side Blind Zone Alert
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Adaptive Forward Lighting
Rear Vision Camera With Dynamic Guidelines
Head Up Display

"We believe sensor fusion will enable future active safety systems to handle a greater number of inputs to provide 360 degrees of crash risk detection and enhanced driver assist features," said Bakhtiar Litkouhi, GM Research and Development lab group manager for perception and vehicle control systems.

"A system that combines the strengths of multiple sensing technologies and expertly manages those inputs can provide advisory, warning, and control interventions to help drivers avoid collisions and save lives," Litkouhi said.

Sensor fusion also is a building block in the development of semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles, which are designed to maintain lane position and adapt to traffic environments. It is envisioned that more sophisticated self-driving technology, that could enable semi and fully autonomous driving, will be available by the end of the decade.

GM's leading-edge work on sensor fusion draws on its experience with The Boss, a fully autonomous Chevrolet Tahoe developed by GM, Carnegie Mellon University and other partner companies, and named for GM R&D founder Charles F. "Boss" Kettering. In 2007, The Boss navigated 60 miles of urban traffic, busy intersections and stop signs in less than six hours to win the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge competition.

Sensor fusion development also is bolstered by GM's work on the EN-V, three semi-autonomous electric concept vehicles unveiled at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. By combining GPS with vehicle-to-vehicle communications, distance-sensing and object detection technologies, EN-V can be driven both manually and autonomously, the latter allowing it to automatically select the fastest route based on real-time traffic information.

Among the technologies that GM is looking to develop for future active safety systems is LIDAR, a light detecting and ranging technology that can measure the distance to a vehicle or object by illuminating it, often using pulses from a laser. Although LIDAR is no replacement for driver vision, it can become another set of eyes when visibility has deteriorated due to inclement weather or darkness. When combined with radar, cameras and ultrasonic sensors, LIDAR has potential crash avoidance capability.

A more advanced positioning system, using more accurate GPS and digital mapping, also is expected to play an important role on future active safety systems because it helps locate vehicles in relation to one another. While GPS effectiveness can be limited in urban canyon environments where high-rise buildings can interfere with satellite signals, the technology is still considered an asset when "fused" with other sensing and positioning technologies.

"No sensor working alone provides all the needed information. That's why multiple sensors and positioning technologies need to work together synergistically and seamlessly," Litkouhi said. "Sensor fusion will help facilitate that."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 42 Comments
      Johnny
      • 3 Years Ago
      This shows gm is the best with technology and that there cars are as good as anyones, even though the media and the car snobs think that they aren't. The media and the shills for japenese cars are just promoting the boring and lame cars like the camry and corollas that are grandma cars and not cool!
      Johnny
      • 3 Years Ago
      This shows gm is the best with technology and that there cars are as good as anyones, even though the media and the car snobs think that they aren't. The media and the shills for japenese cars are just promoting the boring and lame cars like the camry and corollas that are grandma cars and not cool!
      dodie1990
      • 3 Years Ago
      I still want to drive my car not a computer, not the gov't. Remember the gov't now has the ability to track your mileage and assess you a fee for mileage driven. All these complexities will get very costly as the vehicle ages.... In the mean time Cadillac, how about a real full size v-8 powered rear drive car.
        Bob
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dodie1990
        The STS was a real full size V8 powered RWD car. It also had lots of tech like HUD, adaptive cruise, lane departure warning, active forward lighting, etc. It sold kind of poorly, so now it is gone. The upshot is they are pretty cheap used. To some degree a 320+hp RWD CTS is close enough to "V8 full sized" for a lot of people.
      ultraclen2
      • 3 Years Ago
      build our economy buy American
      Noah
      • 3 Years Ago
      Let's bring on full autonomy. Let's get your grandma, grandpa, your uncle, your aunt, your brother, your sister... AWAY from the steering wheel. Your life and my own will be extended greatly. Let's bring on mega-efficiency and effectively eliminate left-lane lurkers. Let's utilize all the performance our vehicles were built to achieve, and use all the performance our public roads are capable of.
        rls1153
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Noah
        Speaking of Left-Lane Lurkers, I travel to Europe for business and love the driving rules that exist there which require cars to sort themselves by the speeds they intend to drive with the center and left lanes of six lane highways being reserved for fast and faster cars respectively. I wish that could be institued here. It makes such great sense and does a lot to move cars down the road with the least congestion.
          a2004ssr
          • 3 Years Ago
          @rls1153
          #1 Americans are angry drivers , if you pass them they take it personally. If you run up on them as they clog up the left lane they get pissed as if you are the one doing something wrong. The right lane is the new left lane now , just take a drive on any highway most cars are in the middle and left lanes!! The morons merge onto the highway and then go right for the left lane where they settle in at 55 mph or less. There is supposed to be a flow to traffic but these morons think if they are going the speed limit in the left lane and you want to pass that you should find a way around them. Flash your lights at them and they SLOW down rather than move over. Idiots.
      sk
      • 3 Years Ago
      Cadillac needs to be careful here.Many grandpas can't really handle tech overload.
        ssmutly
        • 3 Years Ago
        @sk
        Better watch out for GrandPa in his CTS-V... He will blow you off the road, and I don't care what German car you are driving.
        Eric G
        • 3 Years Ago
        @sk
        I've seen plenty of oldies crusing around in their Benz's too.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Eric G
          Around here a ton of BMWs too. Let's face it, expensive (luxury) cars are bought primarily by old people because they have the money to do it. I was at the Tesla tech talk on Saturday with a bunch of other people interested in their cars. You'd think that's a pretty forward-thinking group of people in that room, right? Yeah, it was. And they were also almost all old too.
      montgom626
      • 3 Years Ago
      Drive a Volvo and you can have these features now.
      montgom626
      • 3 Years Ago
      Drive a Volvo and have these features now
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Levi1922
        • 3 Years Ago
        Onstar has had Facebook updates for over a year now. It can also read you your newsfeed. You can also listen to stock quotes and weather via onstar. Im willing to bet that Onstar has helped more people through its safety features than it has harmed with its convenience features. Although, i agree that car makers are to 'blame' for safety mandates. Had they never invented ESC, ABS, or airbags, then cars wouldn't be required to have them. Damn them and the government for trying to protect drivers and passengers.
          Jason Allen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Levi1922
          Thank you, Levi1922. A very sensible comment with some nice sarcasm. +1
      Mike
      • 3 Years Ago
      Before buying a car or a truck from a foreign company, think about this: Those foreign car companies that are building plants here in the USA pay American workers half of what workers from American car companies make. That's half the money to spend and half the tax revenue collected from wages! Also all the profits from these plants go right back to a foreign country except what goes into our politicians pockets. NOW TELL ME THIS IS GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY!!!!! No other country would allow foreign companies to take over their auto industry. That is exactly what is happening to the USA!!
        Bob
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike
        Wow... Why not ratchet that up even further? Pay unskilled workers 1000 times what they make now. Think of the benefits in tax revenue, our economy can only improve from that, right? And if we all get paid more, we'll all have more money to spend. It's a good thing labor costs don't translate into the cost of finished goods, otherwise our extra spending money won't go very far...
      rls1153
      • 3 Years Ago
      My 2011 Prius 5 (top of the line model) has most of those features already, and even a few more. I particularly LOVE the Adaptive Cruise Control which makes it so easy to travel long distances in and out of city areas and back to open road without having to tap the brakes and reset repeatedly. Collision Avoidance has also saved me a couple of times in stop and go traffic. The Lane Departure Warning on a Prius, by the way, does more than just notify you that your can is nearing the edge of the lane, it nudges it back between the lines using its electric power steering. I also have Automated Parking which I've never tried to use as I know how to park. About the only two things on the list the Cadillac has that my car doesn't have are Head Up display and Blind Zone Alert. I compensate for the second by adding spot mirrors to all my cars. Plus, anyone familiar with the Prius dash layout knows that the display is set above and to the right of the steering wheel so it's not much different than HUD.
        ssmutly
        • 3 Years Ago
        @rls1153
        Here's something the Cadillac has that your Prius does not...Everyone in the world would rather be seen in a Cadillac, than a Prius anyday.
        grb04134
        • 3 Years Ago
        @rls1153
        go hug a tree in Japan
        Bob
        • 3 Years Ago
        @rls1153
        Well the article even say it puts the XTS "on par" with other cars. GM has had most of these technologies on the STS and XLR since 2005 (blindspot stuff appeared in 2008 on the STS). So yeah, this is not groundbreaking. It's marketing. That said, the Prius has always been fairly technology-laden. Possibly because it is so devoid of any other appeal. Or because the people it does appeal to value technology more than the dynamic attributes other vehicles place an emphasis on.
        pozboys
        • 3 Years Ago
        @rls1153
        Your car is no Cadillac, that's for sure! Its about as comfortable as riding around in a golf cart! Hopefully, you'll never get rear ended, cause, if you do, get out , quickly,(if you survive) to avoid getting toasted, when the batteries, short circuit!! You obviously, are not a patriotic American worried that your fellow citizens are making a working wage, who's companies profits, stay in America, to further the American middle class, life style!!! (Probably put an American flag on the bumper, too!!!)
      dohc73
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wish they could come up with a better word than "fusion". It conjures up visions of cheaper cars.
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