2012 GMC Acadia offers optional heads-up display (HUD), room for eight persons

Article by Christian A., on April 1, 2012

The 2012 GMC Acadia midsize crossover is offered with the optional heads-up display (HUD) that had originated from aerospace research. Merging into the highway is made easier and safer with the use of this technology that is very similar to what fighter pilots could utilize in order to move with precision during supersonic speeds.

Wen Wu, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science, said that with these features, the primary benefit is in seeing valuable information without being distracted by having to look down. Wu said that this is a “useful but challenging” technology. Wu said that the major issue is in “deciding what to display, where to display, when to display, and how to display.” He said that there are still plenty of corrections to be made on the designs of these systems.

He explained that when projected on a curved windshield, the shapes may not be seen accurately. How Acadia’s HUD functions is that information from within the dashboard will be projected with the use of two mirrors to reflect a crisp digital image off the windshield. This makes it appear as if the details are floating in front of the bumper.

The brightness of this image could be adjusted. It can also be moved to a different location on the windshield. The driver may just turn off the image altogether. The information that can be viewed includes speed and tachometer readings, vehicle warnings, turn signal activation, outside temperature and other information about the vehicle and radio.

According to Cynthia Houeiss, lead General Motors electrical vehicle systems engineer for Acadia, much progress has been made by its engineers on integrating head’s up displays.

For instance, the HUD in the 2012 GMC Acadia is totally incorporated into the vehicle and its styling. He said that it is designed to be a part of the instrument panel rather than being “afterthought or add-on.” On the Acadia, the heads-up display is included in an available technology package. However, it is offered as standard on the Acadia Denali. It will also be offered on the redesigned 2013 model.

The redesigned GMC Acadia is going to be the market’s first vehicle with the brand’s front center air bag. This new GMC air bag system was created to protect the driver and the front passenger in case of a far-side impact crash, wherein the affected occupant is at the opposite side of the vehicle or the non-struck side. The air bag deploys from the driver's seat’s inboard side then gets positioned between driver and front passenger.

According to Gay Kent, executive director for vehicle safety at GMC, while no restraint technology is able to address all the body regions or all the potential injuries, the Acadia’s front center air bag was designed to also work with its other air bags and its other safety belts in order to collectively deliver a more comprehensive passenger restraint system.

In addition, Rear Cross Traffic Alert system and Side Blind Zone Alert system come as standard on the Acadia Denali and are available on other models. Both of these systems use radar in monitoring spots that the driver may not see and they also provide audio and visual warnings in order to keep collisions from happening.

Another standard feature on the GMC Acadia is a six-month OnStar's Directions & Connections service, which includes turn-by-turn navigation, automatic crash response, emergency services link, remote door unlocking, and roadside assistance. RemoteLink, OnStar's smartphone app, provides extended locking/unlocking capability, remote vehicle status reports, and remote start functionality at distances that are limited only by mobile phone service.

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