The GMC Terrain SUV will be the first model offered with GM's new front camera-based crash avoidance system. The single high-resolution digital camera is mounted at the top of the windshield and uses software to identify other vehicles as well as lane markings. Visual and audible alerts warn the driver if he or she is following too close, when a collision is imminent, or if the car leaves its lane without signaling. GM claims the system is the first of its kind and is offering it as a $295 option. The crash avoidance system should make it to the Cadillac SRX and Chevrolet Equinox option lists at some point.

GM says that the National Automotive Sampling System estimates rear-end crashes account for roughly 28 percent of the nearly 6 million traffic incidents reported to police annually. According to GM's press release the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributes the majority of rear-end collisions to inattentive drivers and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says the new system could potentially prevent rear-end collisions.

The crash avoidance system displays solid green "vehicle ahead" and "lanes detected" icons when it senses another vehicle in front of it or lanes painted on the ground. When the system perceives a crash with the vehicle in front a red "forward collision alert" icon flashes and the system sounds a warning beep. If the collision is deemed imminent the system pre-charges the vehicle's brakes for maximum braking. If the vehicle leaves its lane without the driver signaling the system flashes an amber "lane departure warning" icon and sounds a warning chime. The forward collision alert works at speeds above 25 mph and the lane departure warning works at speeds above 35 mph.

The system's software is busy studying 14 frames per second to calculate if the distance of a forward vehicle is decreasing at an unsafe rate. Driver inputs such as accelerator, brake and steering changes are also taken into account. It is also designed to work at night and can recognize taillights.

Source: General Motors