Our spy photographers have just sent us images of Buick's upcoming mid-size crossover, which could prove to be the first self-driving vehicle from a mass-market manufacturer.
But before we get into that, let's get the basics out of the way. Believed to be called the 'Anthem', the crossover spied today will fill the gap in Buick's SUV lineup between the compact Encore and the full-size Enclave. The Anthem (that name could change for production) will ride on a version of the Chevrolet Cruze's Delta architecture. The mid-size Buick crossover will also share its platform with the next-generation Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.
The Anthem will fill the place of the DOA mid-size crossover Buick announced in 2009. That model, essentially a Saturn Vue with a Buick grille, was canceled two weeks after it was announced due to negative feedback.
However, that extended wait for a mid-size Buick crossover might be worth the wait. The prototype spotted today was sporting a roof-mounted 360-degree Lidar "camera" similar to what Google uses on its autonomous vehicles. This is only the second time we've ever seen such technology fitted to a manufacturer's prototype, and could be an indication that the Anthem will be capable of some form of autonomous driving.
The Buick Anthem will reportedly launch for the 2015 model year, so it's possible that we could see the crossover in production form sometime next year.