GM Beefs Up Vehicle Safety With New Airbag, Collision Avoidance
September 29, 2011 1:20 PM
New systems to debut on select models in 2012, 2013, slowly roll out to rest of the lineup
General Motors Comp. (
back to strong sales
and it's also looking to cement its fleet's reptutation for safety. The company unveiled a pair of new features today -- center airbags and collision avoidance systems.
I. GM Adds a Center Air Bag: Common Sense, But an Industry First
[press release] to be the first in the industry to offer a center airbag. The new feature will be available on the 2013
The new airbag serves a multi-functional safety role in a number of crash scenarios. When only the driver is present, it helps cushion them from impacts that occur on the passenger-side. When both the driver and a front-seat passenger are present, it cushions them from impacts on either side, serving as a barrier to keep them from being whipped into each other. And in the case of a rollover -- still an occasional problem in SUVs due to basic physics -- the airbag is also expected to help protect the occupants.
The center airbag provides a barrier between the driver and passenger, in the event of collision. [Source: GM]
The new airbag deploys out of the right side of the driver's seat and fills the space between the driver and the front seat passenger. GM is offering the feature as standard on all Traverses and Acadias with power seats, and on all Enclaves.
Middle air-bag in action with a crash test dummy. [Source: GM]
The trio of crossovers already has earned five-star Overall and Side Crash safety ratings from
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
’s New Car Assessment Program, and 2011 Top Safety Picks from
the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
. But GM says that adding the airbag, which it developed for three years with Takata Corp. (
), was a matter of its commitment to going above and beyond the call of duty.
States Scott Thomas, senior staff engineer in GM’s advanced restraint systems ,"The front center air bag is not required by federal regulation, and no other air bag in passenger vehicles today offers the type of restraint and cushioning this air bag is designed to provide for front occupants."
Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety commends the design. In GM's press release on the topic, he commends the new airbag feature, stating, "The front center airbag has real potential to save lives in side crashes. GM and Takata are to be commended for taking the lead in this important area."
In some crash tests, the airbags made the difference between escaping a collision relatively unscathed and receiving serious injuries:
GM says "no restraint technology can address all body regions or all potential injuries", but says that tests (pictured) show that the new airbag can prevent serious injuries in some collisions. [Source: GM]
The new technology seems like common sense, but it likely hasn't been implemented before due to technical difficulties in getting the airbag to properly deploy from the driver's seat and fill the center space. The cost was also likely an issue, but clearly GM overcame these hurdles.
II. New Safety Sensors Could Help Prevent Crashes
In recent years there have been a number of advancements in using sensors to prevent or prepare for collisions. Ford Motor Company (
) and others have deployed warning signals on the mirrors that inform the driver if a vehicle is in their blind spot. Of course these technologies don't protect against fast-moving vehicles entering the blind spot, but Ford has been busy cooking up
wireless vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems
to remedy that. It's also deployed to its lineup
pre-braking technology that uses a radar sensor to detect impending collisions
Not to be outdone, GM has
[press release] a new safety sensor system aimed primarily at prevention. A camera mounted to the windshield keeps an eye on the lane markers and vehicles in front of you. When a vehicle is in front of you it displays a green car icon to the left of a thin LED display panel. When you follow to close it turns on an amber warning light in the center of the panel, and if you're so close you're in danger of colliding it sounds a warning chime.
GM's new crash avoidance system can help warn distracted or drowsy drivers of dangers. [Source: GM]
The system could help drivers who are
distracted by cell phones or other activities
slow down in time to avoid -- or at least lessen the speed of -- a collision.
The new system also sees when you're changing lanes. If you start to change lanes without signalling the system assumes you're drifting out of your lane. It displays an amber warning signal to the right of the LED panel and sounds a warning chime.
This aspect of the new system could
help alert drowsy drivers
. Driver fatigue is a major cause of accidents on American highways. Similar systems can be found on vehicles in Damiler AG's (
) luxury brand Mercedes-Benz.
GM's new system takes aim at driver inattention. [Source: GM]
Gay Kent, GM executive director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness comments, "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."
GM adds, "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."
The technology is not currently standard, but will be offered on the
2012 GMC Terrain
as a $295 option.
"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs
Ford Looks to Protect Customers Against Bad Drivers, Smartphones
June 22, 2011, 10:20 PM
Gadgets/Built-In Systems Work to Keep Sleepy Drivers Awake
June 3, 2011, 6:36 AM
NHTSA Won't Seek Bans on Hands Free Tech While Driving
March 8, 2011, 1:21 PM
GM Posts Big Profit, Loses Yet Another CEO
August 13, 2010, 9:50 AM
Ford Collision Warning System Uses Radar
October 8, 2008, 12:04 PM
Car Insurance - The Hidden Discriminatory Practise
October 18, 2016, 5:00 AM
End of the Road for the Audi R8 e-tron
October 15, 2016, 5:00 AM
Paralyzed Race Car Driver Recieves Nevada License
October 12, 2016, 5:00 AM
Take a Glance at the Cars of the Paris 2016 Motor Show
October 4, 2016, 5:00 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM
Uber - Everyone's Autonomous Car Driver?
August 20, 2016, 6:01 AM
Most Popular Articles
Car Insurance - The Hidden Discriminatory Practise
October 18, 2016, 5:00 AM
Cyber Hackers Threaten Security of Lifesaving Medical Devices
October 19, 2016, 8:09 AM
8 Days to Apple's October Event
October 19, 2016, 8:22 AM
Is Razer Blade Stealth Laptop For You?
October 16, 2016, 5:00 AM
Tesla Announces Level 5 Autonomous Driving
October 19, 2016, 8:30 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Medical Council of India Makes Generic Medicines Mandatory
Oct 25, 2016, 5:00 AM
MacBoo Pro 2016: Release date Oct. 27
Oct 24, 2016, 7:16 AM
Mac Users, Try this if Your Mac is Infected?
Oct 23, 2016, 7:00 AM
Tips to Prevent Smartphones From Overheating:
Oct 22, 2016, 5:00 AM
Nasa Flies Drones at Nevada Airport
Oct 21, 2016, 8:21 AM
T-Mobile Data Problems
Oct 20, 2016, 10:17 AM
Annoying Apple Watch Problems and How to Fix Them
Oct 20, 2016, 5:00 AM
Your Mail May Soon Be Delivered By Robot
Oct 19, 2016, 9:34 AM
2018 Jeep Wrangler Prototype Sells At Junkyard
Oct 18, 2016, 5:00 AM
Samsung Shines with Gold Edition Tablet
Oct 17, 2016, 9:24 AM
Tesla Hints Mysterious Product Debut for October 17th
Oct 16, 2016, 10:14 AM
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Phones on US flights
Oct 15, 2016, 5:00 AM
Comcast Fined $2.3 Million For Unconfirmed Services Charged To Customers
Oct 14, 2016, 5:00 AM
“American singer / songwriter “Bob Dylan is awarded 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Oct 13, 2016, 10:33 AM
Battery Defect in Medical Device
Oct 12, 2016, 5:00 AM
IBM Bolsters Social Services Sector With Technology Grants
Oct 11, 2016, 5:00 AM
Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate but US Still Toys With Skepticism
Oct 10, 2016, 5:00 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information