GM's 'blind spot' alert
9th April, 2010
It, seemingly, has happened to every driver at one time or
another; another vehicle hiding in your blind spot when you are trying to change lanes. Even when no crash
results, your heart pounds from the adrenaline rush of the close call.
Help in preventing these all-too-frequent near misses is available in the form of a small orange icon
that appears on the side mirrors of North America's 2010 Buick LaCrosse. The aptly named Side Blind Zone
Alert system uses radar-equipped sensors to provide an extra set of “eyes” to monitor the vehicle’s side
“The blind zone technology system enables the car to see where it is difficult for the driver to
see,” said Kent Lybecker, a GM active safety systems engineer. “This technology makes lane changes
safer because it alerts driver’s to vehicles that otherwise might escape their vision.”
If the Side Blind Zone Alert system detects a vehicle in the adjacent lane, the system will illuminate a
symbol on the side view mirror alerting the driver to a potential collision. If the driver activates the
turn signal in the direction of the detected vehicle, the symbol will flash. Otherwise it remains
illuminated until the other vehicle has left the blind zone.
The system uses alternating radar beams that sweep outward from the vehicle, covering a zone of about one
lane wide on both sides of the vehicle. The zone also extends back approximately 3 metres from the rear of
the vehicle for an added layer of protection.
The Buick LaCrosse is one of 27 new vehicles to be named a Top Safety Pick for 2010 by the USA's Insurance
Institute for Highway Safety. The award recognises vehicles that do the best job of protecting occupants in
front, side, rear and roll-over crashes based on Institute testing.
Other GM vehicles offering Side Blind Zone Alert for the 2010 model year are the Buick Lucerne; Cadillac
STS, DTS and Escalade ESV; Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL.
Although Side Blind Zone Alert is intended to help drivers avoid lane change mishaps, the driver obviously
still needs to turn to check blind zones for themselves before changing lanes.
Blind spot alert is already available from at least one other vehicle manufacturer.