GMC’s Safety Alert Seat Vibrates To Warn Driver
Sophisticated camera technology in 2014 Sierras used to make driver more aware of potential crash threats
Instead of having a backseat driver tap you on the shoulder to get your attention there’s a problem looming ahead, the 2014 GMC Sierra flashes red warning lights on the windshield, sounds an alarm and vibrates the driver’s seat.
It’s just part of the safety features fond in the all-new 2014 Sierra that arrives this summer with optional advanced active safety features never offered to full-size pickup truck owners, including Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning.
The manner by which alerts from the system are delivered to the driver is equally innovative, thanks to GMC’s optional Safety Alert Seat.
With the Safety Alert Seat, Sierra owners get feedback transmitted as a vibration through the surface of the driver’s seat bottom cushion.
When the Lane Departure Warning system’s camera detects the Sierra is leaving a lane without a turn signal active in that direction, a vibration in the left or right seat bolster directs the driver’s attention to the side of the lane encroachment.
When a potential collision is detected ahead by the Forward Collision Alert system, both sides of the seat vibrate.
“It’s akin to someone tapping on your shoulder in a crowd to get your attention,” said General Motors Active Safety Technical Fellow Raymond Kiefer.
“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.”
According to Kiefer, GM research shows that the seat may direct driver attention to the location of a crash threat more quickly and accurately than beeping alerts.
Forward Collision Alert uses a camera behind the windshield to monitor traffic ahead and estimate time to collision. A green vehicle-shaped icon on the instrument cluster lets the driver know the system detects a vehicle ahead.
When the Sierra gets too close to a vehicle ahead, the icon turns orange. When approaching a vehicle too rapidly, red lights flash on the windshield and the driver is alerted either audibly or through the optional Safety Alert Seat.
Using the same sophisticated camera technology, Lane Departure Warning uses an icon of a vehicle crossing a dotted lane marker and shines green when detecting a lane ahead at speeds above 35 mph.
The icon glows amber and flashes when a warning is active. Both Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning can be deactivated if the driver desires. Both, along with the Safety Alert Seat, are available on select trim levels.