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Monday, 02 July 2007 14:54

General Motors develops vehicles with a sixth sense designed for avoiding crashes

    What if your car had a sixth sense that could “see” the traffic you couldn’t or didn’t notice, and, if needed, stopped itself to prevent a collision?
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    General Motors recently demonstrated a fleet of cars that do in fact have a sixth sense. Using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, a vehicle can detect the position and movement of other vehicles up to a quarter of a mile away. In a world where vehicles are equipped with a simple antenna, a computer chip and GPS (Global Positioning System) technology, your car will know where the other vehicles are. Additionally, other vehicles will know where you are, too – whether it is in blind spots, stopped ahead on the highway but hidden from view, around a blind corner or blocked by other vehicles.
    The vehicles can anticipate and react to changing driving situations and then instantly warn the drivers with chimes, visual icons and seat vibrations. If the driver doesn’t respond to the alerts, the car can bring itself to a safe stop, avoiding a collision.
    “Driving is a very complex task. Knowing where the other guy is and where he’s headed can be as critical as being in control of your own vehicle,” said Larry Burns, GM vice president, Research & Development and Strategic Planning. “V2V technology gives drivers a sixth sense to know what’s going on around them to help avoid accidents and improve traffic flow.”
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    Today, vehicles can be equipped with multiple safety sensors, including a long range scanning sensor for adaptive cruise control, forward vision sensors for object detection, mid-range blind spot detection sensors and long-range lane change assist sensors. GM has the ability to replace all of these sensors with one advisory sensor that will provide all-around, instantaneous traffic intelligence. This promises a better and significantly less-costly way of sensing other vehicles around your car while driving.
    GM demonstrated scenarios in which V2V technology can assist drivers.Many people struggle with blind spots. Using V2V com-munication, the vehicle alerts the driver to vehicles in blind spots with a steady amber light in the side mirror. If the turn signal is activated, a flashing amber light and gentle seat vibration on the side notifies the driver of a potentially dangerous situation.
    Pile-ups on congested roads due to a chain reaction of rear-end collisions could be lessened. Using V2V, the vehicle monitors messages from other vehicles up to a quarter of a mile ahead. The trailing vehicle warns the driver first with visual icons and seat vibrations and then automatically brakes if there is danger of a rear-end collision with the vehicle ahead.
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    In addition, GM’s V2V technology can warn the driver when any vehicles ahead, regardless of lane, are stopped, traveling much slower, or brakes hard, allowing the driver to brake or change lanes as needed. It also can use rear lights to warn the other driver when the approaching vehicle is moving very quickly and a rear-end collision is imminent.
    Blind intersections without traffic lights can be particularly dangerous because drivers do not see approaching vehicles until it is too late. Vehicles equipped with V2V can communicate before they are within the driver’s range of vision so the driver has additional time to react.
    “Our V2V technology capitalizes on the technology available in OnStar and StabiliTrak. As a result, our customers can benefit from safety features at a fraction of the cost of similar systems,” said Alan Taub, executive director of GM research.
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