GM cars have sixth sense

2 min read

General Motors has demonstrated a fleet of cars that use vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication to detect the position and movement of other vehicles up to a quarter of a mile away.

The vehicles - equipped with a simple antenna, a computer chip and GPS (Global Positioning System) technology - 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 Planning. “V2V technology gives drivers a sixth sense to know what’s going on around them to help avoid accidents and improve traffic flow.”

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 claims it 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 the car while driving.

During a recent demonstration, GM showed scenarios in which V2V technology can assist drivers. Many people struggle with blind spots. Using V2V communication, 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 during rush hour due to a chain reaction 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 on the front and then automatically brakes if there is danger of a rear-end collision with the vehicle ahead.

In addition, GM’s V2V technology can warn the driver when vehicles ahead, regardless of lane, are stopped or travelling much slower or any vehicle ahead 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.

While other vehicle manufacturers are developing similar technology, GM says its advantage is in its ability to enhance existing systems such as OnStar and StabiliTrak systems to deliver this solution more quickly and cost effectively.

“GM is the world leader in Telematics,” said Patrick Popp, director of GM’s Advanced Technical Work in Safety. “Our V2V technology builds on GM’s earlier Telematics systems to give our customers new meaningful traffic safety and efficiency applications.”