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Cadillac bridges testing gap in Brooklyn

Sensor Fusion helps XTS and ATS know a structure from a car

Published: August 4, 2012, 3:00 PM
Updated: October 9, 2014, 12:02 PM

Cadillac on Brooklyn Bridge

Cadillac's new Driver Awareness and Driver Assist active safety technologies were put through their paces on the Brooklyn Bridge this week, as the maker took advantage of heavy stop-and-go traffic and its intricate metal design to help refine the system's radar sensors to distinguish between stationary objects like guard rails from vehicular traffic.

Some types of radar confuse metal structures into thinking a vehicle is approaching, which can wreak havoc on maintaining safe following distances. Cadillac engineers call the discerning of the data collected from cameras and sensors "Sensor Fusion," and it's part of the all-new 2013 XTS luxury sedan and ATS compact sport sedan.

"The camera, sensors and radar technology acts as the brain behind all the safety features, feeding data 25 times per second into the car's computer network," said Jim Nickolaou, lead engineer for Sensor Fusion. "We found that the best way to test the system's accuracy was to gauge its performance in stressful driving conditions that could confuse it, like those conditions found at the Brooklyn Bridge."

Nearly 2,000 scenarios were identified to test the sensors and radar, including such variables as traffic volume, lighting, and radar reflections, which can all impact radar systems or other sensors. Data was collected to anticipate a range of real-world conditions, and Sensor Fusion software development was tuned to prepare the production technology for such rigours.

The advanced features on Cadillac's all-new 2013 vehicles benefit from long-term research and development of semi-autonomous driving, such as their "Super Cruise," which is capable of fully automatic steering, braking, and lane-centering under certain conditions.

The Brooklyn Bridge, which at 486.3 m spans the East River that divides Manhattan and Brooklyn, was built in 1883 and designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972.