General Motors revealed the most technologically integrated vehicle ever at today's opening of the 2005 SAE World Congress. The Cadillac STS SAE 100, which pays homage to SAE's 100th anniversary, will serve as a working laboratory that will aid engineers in developing future production vehicles.
"We have challenged our engineers to take the best of today's vehicle technologies and integrate them with promising future technologies to demonstrate how they will function together in a real-world driving environment," said Jim Queen, GM vice president, Global Engineering and general chairperson of the 2005 SAE World Congress. GM is the host company for this year's World Congress.
GM worked with 38 suppliers to integrate 50 different technologies into the STS SAE 100, ranging across safety, chassis, powertrain, electrical and comfort and convenience categories. Nineteen have never been in production, 22 are in production somewhere other than the 2005 STS and nine are currently on the production 2005 STS.
The vehicle, commissioned by Queen and executed by the GM Performance Division Vehicle Development Center, is much more than a "dream team" of technologies: Engineers will use it to document how the various technologies interface with each other and how they can be applied to future production vehicles.
"Vehicle integration is behind game-changing safety features like electronic stability control, which we are rolling out across our entire fleet," said Queen.
"Our goal with this vehicle was not simply to see how many different technologies can be incorporated into one vehicle. We want to learn how a variety of relevant current and future technologies can be made to function harmoniously while enhancing the total driving experience."
STS SAE 100 technologies include (see accompanying sheet for full list of technologies and their suppliers):
3-D navigation system: This prototype system uses actual pictures taken by satellites to provide the driver with a "bird's-eye-view" of the vehicle's surroundings. The images are so detailed that even trees and lampposts are visible. This detail helps the driver to relate the images on the navigation screen to his surroundings.
Oil condition sensor: An industry first in new vehicle features, this oil probe can determine and detect the actual level and remaining engine oil life. It can reduce the need for costly engine repairs due to poor oil maintenance as well as prevent unnecessary oil changes.
Inside rear-view mirror with embedded organic LED screen: This new device offers clear images from the rear seat (via a rear seat camera) or back-up camera, depending on what gear the vehicle is in. In addition to improving visibility behind the vehicle, it can reduce the distraction associated with tending to rear seat passengers.
Electronic limited slip differential: Unlike passive LSD, this technology enhances vehicle traction without brake/engine intervention, as well as provides additional vehicle stability from the differential yaw dampening effect. It also is easier to integrate with electronic stability control systems.
Two-piece carbon fiber wheel with magnesium spokes: This two-piece wheel is designed to be the lightest yet strongest wheel in production, which reduces unsprung weight. Reducing unsprung weight improves acceleration, braking efficiency, handling and fuel consumption.
Lane departure warning: Using a real-time vision system, it detects road markings and notifies the driver with a visual signal and a vibration (haptic alert) in the seat when a vehicle traveling at more than 35 mph crosses over the markings unintentionally. This technology could be especially promising in curbing drowsy-driving crashes.
Side blind zone alert: Radar sensors warn a driver about to change lanes if another vehicle is in the driver's blind spot. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these crashes damage 830,000 vehicles annually.
Capless fuel system: Removing a gas cap can be difficult for arthritic, disabled or elderly people. With this system, the user simply pushes an interior button and an electronically activated ball spins open to allow access to the fuel pipe, and closes when the nozzle is removed. In addition, a capless system means there's no cap to lose and no risk of a loose cap triggering a dashboard warning light.
Adaptive cruise control: Rear impacts account for nearly 29 percent of police-reported crashes, and most are due to driver inattention. Adaptive cruise control, already available on some Cadillacs, uses sensors to detect objects in the vehicle's path and slow it accordingly.
Reconfigurable color head-up display: This HUD projects digital readouts of key data (speedometer, navigation system turn prompts, tapshift, audio settings and adaptive cruise control status and alerts) onto the windshield in an easy-to-read and intuitive way.
Rear seat entertainment system: Who says only the people in the front seat can have fun? This entertainment system consists of two, 6.5-inch headrest-mounted LCD screens, wireless infrared headphones and two Microsoft Xboxes with DVD packages. Players can even "feel" the action with a haptic controller.
Rear vision camera: This system provides a wide angle view of the area behind the vehicle for detecting obstacles while backing up. The field of view is projected onto the navigation screen in the instrument panel.
The STS SAE 100 is powered by a supercharged LS2 engine yielding 505 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 520 lb.-ft. of torque at 3600 rpm. It is mated to GM HydraMatic's newly developed, longitudinal 6L90E six-speed transmission, capable of supporting more powerful engines like the supercharged LS2. The transmission features Driver Shift Control, which gives the driver the ability to shift gears sequentially with a tap up/ tap down mechanism.
The STS SAE 100 was tested at GM's proving grounds in Milford, Mich. and Mesa, Ariz.
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