Terrain Brings Safety To The Masses
by, 02-25-2012 at 02:37 PM (1410 Views)
February 25, 2012
By: Nick Saporito
This week I've been piloting a 2012 GMC Terrain from GM's press fleet. While the Terrain has been on the market for some time now with no major updates, the 2012 model ended up debuting GM's forward collision warning (FCW) and lane departure warning (LDW) system. It turns out this simple, relatively cheap system makes a big impact.
The simplicity stems from the fact that the entire system utilizes one high-resolution camera to function. The camera is mounted in the windshield, on the right side of the rear-view mirror. The camera constantly takes four different exposures and runs them through algorithms to determine where the lanes are on the road and the relative distance and speed of a vehicle in front of the car. By comparison, most forward collision systems utilize radar on the front of the vehicle - usually the same radar utilized by adaptive cruise control systems.
The hardware's simplicity leads to the headline of the system: it's only a $295 option. So, is it worth it?
Short answer, yes. Both the lane departure warning and forward collision assistance work really well. Here's some notes I've taken during the last week regarding the system:
- FCW cuts off the radio and alerts when a driver ahead of you has slowed down to turn. This is really useful when said driver fails to use their blinker.
- Part of FCW is a "tailgating alert" function. When the Terrain detects I'm following someone close the visual alert goes off.
- LDW does not pick up road lines when they are faded, which is fairly common considering the state of many state budgets.
- Thanks to the camera's hgh location, the LDW alerts before the driver realizes that the vehicles is veering out of the lane.
- LDW works even when there are only center road lines (no side lines).
- If you utilize the blinker, LDW will not alert when you switch lanes.
Overall, I'm really impressed with the system and hope it proliferates the rest of the GM lineup quickly. For the price, it can't be beat. Stay tuned for my full review of the Terrain!