The redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Malibu will be offered with a pedestrian-avoidance system. It features just a camera and software and is different from other crash-avoidance setups that incorporated a camera or sensors with radar. Because it is cheaper by a few hundred dollars, GM is able to offer this active-safety feature on mainstream vehicles that have lower prices.
In this system, a camera is set at the back of the windshield that detects pedestrians and alerts the driver of an impending collision. At the last second, the brakes are automatically applied to avoid a crash or at the very least, lessen its severity.
In an interview, John Capp, GM's director of global vehicle safety, said that this camera technology enables the company to install it on a greater number of vehicles. He added that the radar package may not be what everyone wants and so this gives consumers an option.
GM has yet to release the pricing details. It’s likely that information about the safety packages will come out in the next months. The next-gen Malibu will go on sale in the fourth quarter. In addition, the Cadillac CT6 sedan that starts selling early next year will also be getting the pedestrian-braking feature.
A demonstration was conducted by GM engineers for journalists. In numerous tests that had a boy dummy dart across the path of a 2016 Malibu, the car came to a halt instantly from a speed of about 15 mph. Engineers said that the system is being upgraded so that it can avoid or mitigate collisions with bicycles.
However, this feature has yet to be perfected. This is the camera that will also come to play in a feature named “city speed automatic front braking," which applies the brakes to reduce the impact of rear-end collisions or avoid it at slow speeds. It has not been announced yet where GM plans to offer this technology.
The downside to this camera-based system is that it isn’t as effective as those that use radar too. At 20 to 40 mph speeds, the system can mitigate but it won’t be able to avoid crashes. In higher speeds, it won’t be of much help in avoiding collisions. This is the same camera that GM used for a few years on numerous cars to deploy lane-departure warnings and forward-collisions alerts.
But because it costs lower, GM can offer active-safety features on even its most affordable vehicle, the Chevy Spark. The demonstration took place at GM’s new $14 million facility that’s meant for the development and testing of active safety systems.
The automaker said that for the 2016 model year, it will have 22 active safety systems available across its brands. Mark Reuss, the global product chief of GM, said that they’re currently developing systems that are the building blocks for future autonomous vehicles that can prevent crashes.