When one thinks of safety technology for cars, what usually comes to mind are high-tech and complicated stuff: rearview cameras, adaptive cruise control, collision/lane departure warning, and blind-spot detection, among others. These are great, but safety features need not be high-tech all the time. As General Motors proves with its patent-pending child safety feature, sometimes simple is best.
GM is debuting a simple but innovative safety feature on its 2015 GMC Canyon, which will roll out into showrooms this fall. This feature addresses a long-time problem in mid-sized pickup trucks with a solution that would make other automakers wish they thought of it first.
One key issue with mid-sized trucks that have extended cabs is that the rear seats are shorter than average. This seems like a simple enough issue, but it is a huge concern for parents who need to transport their young children in this kind of vehicle. Manufacturers of child car seats require that at least 80 percent of the car seat fit on the seat cushion. Because extended cab midsize trucks have shorter rear seat cushions, these do not allow the said requirement to be met.
GM’s engineers came up with an ingenious way to enable the all-new Canyon to meet the aforementioned requirement whenever a child car seat needs to be installed, and it does not involve the installation of longer rear seat cushions. Rather, it makes good use of the rear seat headrest, specifically that on the passenger side.
When a young child needs to ride the Canyon, the rear seat can be extended by simply removing the headrest—the headrest can be detached from its original position by pressing the headrest unlock button—and inserting it horizontally into the base of the seat by sliding the posts into the portholes.
With the headrest extending the seat cushion, the truck is able to meet the seat base recommendation for child car seats and the child car seat can now be installed. What makes this solution great is that it allows the extension of the seat only when needed.
“It’s an elegant solution that makes efficient use of the limited space in the rear seat in this type of vehicle, by allowing us to adapt the seat cushion length for child restraint installation,” said Eduardo Bugelli, the GMC Canyon’s safety performance team lead, in a statement. “The additional seat cushion length provides more support to the child restraint, which helps to reduce the rotation and the risk of injury in a crash.”
This clever solution is not the only safety feature to be expected from the Canyon. It is but one of the safety technologies that come with the vehicle, and it is the simplest of the lot. The Canyon will also be equipped with the likes of Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning technologies, both of which are included in the available Driver Alert Package. According to GM, the Canyon is the first mid-sized pickup to come with these safety features.
Forbes.com reported that in addition to the Canyon, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado (which will also be available beginning this fall) will also feature the child seat extension.
Photo credit: © General Motors CC BY-NC