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2014 GMC Sierra brings active safety to pickups

The all-new truck will have lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert, along with tactile seat-cushion alerts.

By Douglas Newcomb May 2, 2013 1:29PM

2014 GMC Sierra. Photo by GM.Active safety systems are already migrating to  entry-level cars like the Ford Fiesta (at least in Europe). And when the all-new 2014 GMC Sierra pickup arrives in showrooms this summer, it will be the first full-size truck with active safety features, specifically lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert.


The Sierra will also be the first truck -- and GMC will be the third General Motors brand behind Buick and Cadillac -- to get the optional Safety Alert Seat that gives drivers a warning where they sit.


The lane-departure warning system uses a camera to detect when the truck leaves its lane and a turn signal isn’t activated in that direction. Forward-collision alert also uses a camera to monitor vehicles ahead and determine the risk of a collision.


An icon of a vehicle crossing a dotted lane marker glows amber and flashes when the lane-departure warning system detects that a Sierra driver is inadvertently drifting out of his lane. Forward-collision alert uses a vehicle-shaped icon in the instrument cluster that glows green when it detects a vehicle within range. The icon turns orange if the Sierra gets too close to a vehicle ahead, and red lights flash on the windshield and the driver receives an audible alert if the truck is bearing down on a vehicle too rapidly.


These are all industry-standard designs. The real novelty is what comes next if the driver doesn't heed these warnings.


According to GM, with the lane-departure warning system, “a vibration in the left or right seat bolster directs the driver’s attention to the side of the lane encroachment.” If the forward-collision alert system senses a potential impending collision, both sides of the seat vibrate.


“It’s akin to someone tapping on your shoulder in a crowd to get your attention,” said GM safety expert Raymond Kiefer in a statement. With “alarm” fatigue” becoming an issue, Kiefer feels that transmitting an alarm to the body -- and in this case, a more sensitive part of the body than the shoulder -- makes a big difference in alerting a driver to danger.


“Using the tactile sense to communicate crash threat direction provides an effective and intuitive way to cut through the clutter of visual and auditory sensory information that drivers routinely experience,” he said.


While some automotive purists complain about such “nanny” technology, research has shown (.pdf) that systems like lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert help save lives. And anyone who has ever been next to a truck pulling a trailer knows that the pilot of a pickup -- or any driver -- can always use an extra set of eyes.


And if drivers grow tired of the audible, visual and tactile warnings of the Sierra’s safety systems, which are available as options on select trim levels, they can always turn them off.


[Source: General Motors]

17Comments
May 3, 2013 4:24AM
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Sensible and protective technology being embraced by vehicle manufacturers is admirable . However, dangerously approaching a forward collision would be best handled by an automatic braking action to avoid a collision. Technology that improves safety is worth the cost but infotainment is now becoming a growing CAUSE of serious accidents. Let us not forget that a vehicle is a dangerous weapon and a personal tool that needs to be respected. Something to consider. 
May 7, 2013 8:23AM
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they've had auto driving for years for those people that don't want to drive.  just get in and say where you want to go.  it's called a taxi.  quit driving the price of trucks up with stuff most drivers don't want.
May 7, 2013 7:43AM
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Great, more useless technology for me to turn off.
May 7, 2013 7:45AM
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All these sensors have been proven to save a few lives but how many have they caused by people losing their general use of senses?  It has been proven when you no longer have to do something like looking in your mirrors you stop using them altogether.

 

Take these sensors for instance.  Forward collision allert has people where they no longer have to pay as close attention to the vehicle ahead of them as they drive.  SO if that vehicle has to slam on their brakes the sensor wont alert the driver fast enough and odds are they arent paying as close attention as someone without it.  So now they drive THROUGH the back end of the other vehicle.  Thats safe.

May 7, 2013 7:46AM
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Strange....This technology was available in the Freightliner I drove in the military back in 2001 and is only coming to mainstream vehicles as of late. Imagine how many accidents/deaths this could have prevented in the last 12 years.....
May 7, 2013 9:55AM
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should have just made it simple,like the older key off/on for passenger airbag system.too many flashing gizmos I think,just do it,or don't.black box is gonna tell the story anyway if it isn't already installed.
May 7, 2013 10:28AM
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The morons who change lanes will just turn it off, or not pay for it in the first place. If they want to affect one of the senses, design something that will kill the sound on the radio, phone, etc. If your phone is tied into the car, like in the Sync system, that would go silent too until danger was over. Automatic braking would save more lives and injuries than lights on the dash or tingles in the rear.
May 7, 2013 9:43AM
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I say it is GREAT, that is why GMC trucks are much better than what Toyota has to offer!
May 7, 2013 10:29AM
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Leave it to GM to come up with this crap. As if vehicles don't have enough bell, whistles and other crap to annoy and aggrevate drivers now they want to make your seat vibrate?

Who's going to want this in a pick up? Not me thats for sure.

But wait!........With the new cafe standards imposed by the government any steel used in vehicles will be paper thin to cut down on weight. This will make even the pick ups in coming years less safe in a collision.

Maybe GM is trying to get ahead of the curve. (pun intended)

May 7, 2013 8:28PM
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Oh poop.  They take all the fun out of tailgating some idiot doing 45 in a 55 or 65 in some econo box.
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