It was only a matter of time. General Motors announced on Wednesday that its Super Cruise semi self-driving system will soon proliferate across the automaker’s other brands.
The system first debuted with the 2018 Cadillac CT6 and is able to handle most driving functions on divided freeways. After 2020, GM said the system will be available on every single Cadillac before it begins to roll out to other GM brands. We’d expect Buick and GMC are first in line to offer the system before Chevrolet has a crack at hands-free driving.
Super Cruise combines advanced mapping, lidar, and a driver-attention system to provide an honest hands-free driving experience. Many rival makes also claim to offer a “hands-free” experience, but the technology often still requires the driver to touch the steering wheel or provide other input occasionally.
To overcome this, GM engineers developed a driver-attention system that keeps tabs on a driver’s eye movement. If the steering column-mounted camera detects a driver’s eyes haven’t been fixed to the road, Super Cruise will display alerts and eventually audible warnings. If the case of a real emergency and the driver is unresponsive, Super Cruise can bring the car to a controlled stop, activate the hazards, and contact OnStar for assistance.
Super Cruise is GM’s first step in its quest to become a major player in the blossoming self-driving car industry. The automaker has plans to commercialize self-driving cars in 2019 and its self-driving car subsidiary, GM Cruise, recently received a $2.25 billion investment from SoftBank to bolster development and deployment.
Aside from the Super Cruise news, GM also said it plans to introduce vehicle-to-X (vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure) capability on a high-volume luxury crossover in 2023. Eventually, the technology will make its way to every Cadillac vehicle as well, and probably to the rest of GM’s fleet soon after.