Cadillac, like other automakers, is working towards the ultimate goal of self-driving cars. Computers, it seems, are far better at multi-tasking than humans, and aren’t prone to cell-phone-induced distractions.
While self-driving cars are still potentially decades in the future, technology being developed towards that end can be implemented to make cars safer now. An example of this is the Driver Assistance Package in the 2013 Cadillac XTS, which was developed using what GM calls “sensor fusion.”
Sensor fusion may sound like something that requires repair under warranty, but it actually refers to the integration of various technologies that aid drivers in determining both position and potential dangers in the surrounding environment.
Cadillac’s Driver Assistance Package will blend radar, cameras and ultrasonic sensors to provide owners with adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, automatic collision preparation, blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert and a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines.
Package equipped XTS models also come with intelligent brake assist, adaptive forward lighting and a heads-up display that allows drivers to monitor speed and trip information without taking their eyes off the road. In essence, sensor fusion gives drivers a 360 degree “view” of the world around them.
Other emerging technologies are sure to play a role in future safety systems. LIDAR, similar to the laser detection devices used by police for speed enforcement, can accurately judge distances in low-visibility settings. That makes it ideal to supplement existing radar-based adaptive cruise control and collision detection systems.
More accurate GPS systems will improve mapping and, eventually, vehicle positioning. As with current sensor fusion technology, future systems will blend data from multiple sources to provide the most accurate virtual picture of the surrounding environment possible.