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Drew Dowdell

2008 Buick Lucerne gets new safety features.

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Buick Offers New GM Safety-Enhancing Technologies

Designed To Help Drivers Stay In Their Lane, Avoid Lane-Change Collisions

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DETROIT – Buick will offer two new safety-enhancing technologies that could serve as an extra set of “eyes” for drivers, helping them to avoid a collision caused by an inadvertent lane change or by colliding with a vehicle in the side blind spot while changing lanes. The technologies will be available on all 2008 Buick Lucerne sedan models this summer.

The General Motors Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Side Blind Zone Alert (SBZA) systems continue Buick’s mission of adding advanced but easy-to-use technologies that offer occupants peace of mind while driving.

The lane departure system uses a camera located between the inside rearview mirror and the windshield to detect lane markings on the road and alert drivers when they inadvertently stray from the lane. The side blind zone system uses radar sensors behind the rear fascia on both sides of the vehicle. It is designed to help drivers avoid lane-change crashes with vehicles in the side blind zone. (The same technology behind the Buick systems will be featured on the 2008 Cadillac STS and DTS sedans.)

“GM’s Lane Departure Warning and Side Blind Zone Alert systems aren’t a substitute for safe, careful driving, but they show tremendous potential to reduce certain kinds of crashes,” said Buick-Pontiac-GMC General Manager John Larson. ”They have been tested extensively with great success.”

Lane Departure Warning System

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When GM’s Lane Departure Warning System is engaged, a driver traveling at 35 mph or more who crosses a detected lane marking without signaling is alerted in two ways: The system’s flashes an amber indicator light located in the fuel gauge of the Lucerne ’s instrument panel, and an alerting chime of three beeps is played. The system does not steer the vehicle; it is designed only to alert drivers so they can take appropriate action to move the vehicle back into the lane.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 200,000 car crashes a year happen due to automobiles leaving their lanes. The causes range from driver distraction to driver fatigue. A Lane Departure Warning system alerts a driver when he’s leaving his lane without signaling. A recent University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute-led study also revealed that lane departure warning systems can help drivers do a better job of staying in their lanes and promote greater use of turn signals.

“Active safety is one of the emerging automotive technologies we see in vehicles today. Active safety are products that prevent crashes or minimize damage to the vehicles and increase safety to the passenger in unavoidable crashes,” said Charlie Vogelheim, vice president, J.D. Power and Associates.

Larson said a distinguishing feature of Buick’s lane departure system over competitive systems is an indicator light with the LDW symbol that indicates whether the system is ready to assist the driver. If the light is green, the system is able to detect lane markings and provide alerts. If the light is off, it will not.

To avoid nuisance alerts, the system is deigned to not provide an alert if the turn signal is on or if the driver makes a sharp maneuver.

Side Blind Zone Alert System

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For many reasons, it often can be difficult for a driver to see vehicles in the side blind zone. Alternating radar beams in GM’s Side Blind Zone Alert System sweep adjacent lanes of traffic, covering a zone of about one lane over from both sides of the vehicle, or 11 feet (3.5 m). The zone starts at each side mirror and goes back about 16 feet (5 m).

When the system is engaged, a driver will know that following vehicles in the adjacent lanes are entering their side blind zone when an amber symbol, located in the outside rearview mirror, is illuminated.

The system is not designed to detect vehicles outside of the side blind zone that may be rapidly approaching, or detect pedestrians, bicyclists or animals. It’s designed to ignore infrastructure such as fire hydrants or parked cars. In addition, the system displays do not come on while the vehicle is approaching or passing other vehicles.

Both the LDW and SBZA systems can be turned on and off by the driver.

“These are easy-to-use, easy-to understand technologies that will benefit our customers and the driving public, and you won’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a high-end luxury car to benefit from these technologies,” Larson said.

Lane Departure Warning and Side Blind Zone Alert systems join the Lucerne ’s growing list of safety technologies to help protect occupants before, during and after a crash.

Some include a front passenger dual depth air bag that deploys in two shapes and pressures based on the severity of the crash, seat position and seat belt use; Magnetic Ride Control for increased vehicle control and tire contact with the road surface; StabiliTrak electronic stability control with brake assist, which senses emergency braking situations and boosts the power as needed; and OnStar’s Advanced Automatic Crash Notification (AACN) system, making crash data available to participating 911 centers to help them dispatch the appropriate life-saving personnel and equipment to crash scenes faster.

Lane Departure Warning and Side Blind Zone Alert systems are available together as an optional upgrade to Lucerne ’s Driver Confidence Package, which includes remote start, rear park assist, heated washer fluid, StabiliTrak and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Both technologies are available in the U.S. and Canada . Pricing for each has not been announced.

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Does that mean the Lucerne will be the cheapest vehicle to buy those gizmos with?
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Does that mean the Lucerne will be the cheapest vehicle to buy those gizmos with?

If this is available on every Lucerne, yes.

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Stuff like this helps make Buick seem more technologically advanced. That's a good thing.

Edited by empowah
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Why wouldn't this be standard on all Cadillacs!!!! Brand new CTS coming out but skipping out on technology. I am a GM fan owning 2 GM's but starting to get a little leary with some of there choices. I am holding out for a 2008 Escalade and a new car. Was thinking of getting new CTS( currently have 2004 cts) but I am getting more and more leary of GM

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Why wouldn't this be standard on all Cadillacs!!!! Brand new CTS coming out but skipping out on technology. I am a GM fan owning 2 GM's but starting to get a little leary with some of there choices. I am holding out for a 2008 Escalade and a new car. Was thinking of getting new CTS( currently have 2004 cts) but I am getting more and more leary of GM

I think you make a valid point there. Cadillac should be the technology leader since it is the top GM brand.

EDIT - I mean this at an introductory stage of tech developments. And the CTS would have been a great product to showcase this IMO.

Edited by ZL-1
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I think we'll see nearly all Cadillacs get this technology before the model year is out. Remember, the Lucerne and DTS roll off the same line at Hamtramck; easier integration across all products built there.

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I find it almost sereal that GM is spending money on technology like this yet I would be willing to bet my eye teeth that the 2008 DTS and Lucerne will STILL have 4 speed automatics and the Lucerne will continue to be powered by the detuned 197 Hp 3800 and that a telescoping wheel won't be available on CX, CXL and CXS varients. GM seems to be on a gadget kick these days with little to no money spent on powertrian developments.

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GM seems to be on a gadget kick these days with little to no money spent on powertrian developments.

What do you mean? The G8 won't even have HUD, so they are not spending gadget money on Pontiac.

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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GREAT, More sh#t to Break. Sorry guys, but these are BAD BAD BAD, Just like the parallel parking option on the Lexus LS460. While I understand the desire for people to become dummer and not have to think. Letting a machine do the thinking for you and not being responsible for your own driving, I do not see this saving people from accidents. I actually see more as people will tend to stop thinking about how to drive, how to check their blind spots, the head check , dual mirror check, etc.

I am all for safety, yet we need to force people to be alert and this does not help this, it just says, ignore watching what you are doing and being aware of what is going on around you. The last thing I would want is a vehicle that locks me out of making a lane change as it feels it knows best for you and the same with parallel parking. THis is part of being a responsible driver, if you can not take the time to learn how to drive, then take the bus. No matter how sucky the US mass transit system is, if you are not going to learn and be responsible, then we do not need you on the road driving.

One who loves new auto's and technology, but feels that some technology takes away our human drive to be alert and aware of our surroundings. Plus please do not forget about accountability.

My thoughts on this technology. Hopefully it will come with an override switch to disable it.

Edited by dfelt
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I think we'll see nearly all Cadillacs get this technology before the model year is out. Remember, the Lucerne and DTS roll off the same line at Hamtramck; easier integration across all products built there.

I hope it does and I understand the easier integration bit, but they should have introduced it first in a Cadillac (maybe as a DTS-only item, expanding it to STS/SRX and CTS), and then in Buicks. I have nothing against Buicks, but if Cadillac is GM's top-of-the-line brand it should get innovations as exclusives for a model year or so. Edited by ZL-1
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I hope it does and I understand the easier integration bit, but they should have introduced it first in a Cadillac (maybe as a DTS-only item, expanding it to STS/SRX and CTS), and then in Buicks. I have nothing against Buicks, but if Cadillac is GM's top-of-the-line brand it should get innovations as exclusives for a model year or so.

I completely understand your perspective, but that mentality has caused many of GM's vehicles to be uncompetitive. The "trickle down" effect forces GM to roll out new technologies slower than the competition just to give a brand or two an air of "exclusiveness." Luxury brands such as Mercedes and BMW don't really have non-luxury brands being cross-shopped to cause cannibalization of sales. Cadillac & Buick introducing a technology together will not make a MB or BMW shopper look at Buick. They'll more than likely only consider Cadillac. However, that Avalon or Azera shopper may look twice at the Lucerne when they are nowhere near the target audience of a Cadillac.

Toyota, Honda, & Nissan do not follow the "trickle down" rule. Avalon has a 5-sp, while Camry has a 6-sp. Push button start was introduced at Toyota and Lexus near the same time frame along with adaptive cruise control. Hybrid technology exclusively exists on Honda-brand models, while Toyota shares it across two divisions. Infiniti shares its RWD platform with Nissan.

GM can't continue to allow internal squabbling and hissy fits to prevent their vehicles from being competitive. Technology that is applicable to several markets should be rolled out in those markets as soon as possible. Features that will make and keep Cadillac "exclusive" should remain with Cadillac. Safety features should never fall into that "exclusive" category.

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I'm very happy to see new technology being offered in the Lucerne... it's a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, there is only so far they can go with this platform and equipment attached to it. At least next year we'll be looking at the 3.6L standard most likely on the Lucerne CX/CXL V6. That'll make the base even more appealing.

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You don't need HUD. It is just a gizmo. I would NEVER pay extra for it, if it was on a used one fine but I would never order a Bonneville SSEi/GXP or Grand Prix GXP/GTP with it.

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I completely understand your perspective, but that mentality has caused many of GM's vehicles to be uncompetitive. The "trickle down" effect forces GM to roll out new technologies slower than the competition just to give a brand or two an air of "exclusiveness." Luxury brands such as Mercedes and BMW don't really have non-luxury brands being cross-shopped to cause cannibalization of sales. Cadillac & Buick introducing a technology together will not make a MB or BMW shopper look at Buick. They'll more than likely only consider Cadillac. However, that Avalon or Azera shopper may look twice at the Lucerne when they are nowhere near the target audience of a Cadillac.

Toyota, Honda, & Nissan do not follow the "trickle down" rule. Avalon has a 5-sp, while Camry has a 6-sp. Push button start was introduced at Toyota and Lexus near the same time frame along with adaptive cruise control. Hybrid technology exclusively exists on Honda-brand models, while Toyota shares it across two divisions. Infiniti shares its RWD platform with Nissan.

GM can't continue to allow internal squabbling and hissy fits to prevent their vehicles from being competitive. Technology that is applicable to several markets should be rolled out in those markets as soon as possible. Features that will make and keep Cadillac "exclusive" should remain with Cadillac. Safety features should never fall into that "exclusive" category.

Your argument has won me over regarding safety features. I still think Cadillac should be the first to offer non-safety-features innovations, though.

EDIT - I have a question regarding the LDW feature: does it work in very heavy rain or foggy conditions? I had to drive through very intense rain last Friday: I had to turn on the lights, front and rear fog lights and 4-way-hazard-warning just to remain barely visible in that weather, and heavy rain or fog are the only two kinds of situations I'd see that thing as useful. IMHO it's completely useless in clear weather unless the driver is sleeping...

Edited by ZL-1
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I don't really like these features. I guess if they keep idiots from running into me, they're okay, but it seems to me that if someone is used to having these features in their Lucerne, and then hops in the Suburban for a family road trip and doesn't have these features, it's quite possible they'll forget to check their blind spot and cause more accidents because of it.

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Just read the 2008 STS press release and it is in there also. Both features are going to be available on the 2008 STS. I am guessing by this info that all the 2008 Cadillacs wouls have this available. Just guessing though!!!!

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