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How GMC Sierra's new safety alert will stop accidents

The 2014 GMC Sierra will have a unique feature that alerts the driver to impending accidents. Can you guess how the truck sends the message?

Chevrolet’s Silverado and GMC’s Sierra are both all-new in 2014. Both come with a long list of innovations and today, GMC announced that the 2014 Sierra will have a safety feature bever seen on a pickup truck before now.

As safety systems become more elaborate the driver is at risk of being overwhelmed by audible warning or small lights on the dash. The 2014 GMC Sierra will use tactile sensations to alert the driver of a lane departure or an impending forward collision risk. General Motors Active Safety Technical Fellow Raymond Kiefer explains the sensation well, saying “It’s akin to someone tapping on your shoulder in a crowd to get your attention. 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.”

The tactile sensation will be felt by the driver of the 2014 GMC Sierra via the left or right seat bolster. It will be a vibration that is too strong to miss, but not annoying. If the lane departure system detects that the vehicle is straying from a lane without a turn signal, the side of the seat the vehicle is moving towards will vibrate. Also, if there is a forward collision risk the two sides will vibrate together. The idea is simple. The tactile sensation actually directs the drier’s attention to the location of the risk. This intuitive approach helps to cut down on information overload in the cabin.

Because a forward collision alert should not be a commonplace event, the 2014 Sierra also uses both visual and audible alarms. On the dash there is a green icon in the shape of a vehicle. If the Sierra is approaching too quickly the icon turns orange. If the closing speed is dangerous the icon flashes red and there is also an audible alarm. The alerts are able to be deactivated by the driver, should he or she wish. The eyes of the lane departure and forward collision mitigation system are a camera mounted behind the windshield of the Sierra. Cameras like these are leading to partially autonomous driving systems that may allow drivers to use cruise control without steering. For more on that General Motors innovation please click here.

The 2014 Sierra also boasts industry leading fuel economy in its V8 engine that actually tops the V6 turbo drivetrain from its rival, the venerable Ford F-150. For more on the new V8 and its impressive fuel economy please click here. The new GMC Sierra and the Chevy Silverado also offer an impressive materials technology that makes the cabin safer, quieter, and more rigid. Here is a link to that Torque News Story. Do you think this technology is well matched to a pickup-truck, or if it should be left to luxury cars? Please send us your comments below.