Thursday, June 7, 2018

Drivers of new Cadillacs will soon be able to say, ‘Look, Ma—no hands!’

A woman interacts with on-board technology in the interior of a Cadillac.
Photo: GM media website.
Soon, when your baby drives off in a brand new Cadillac, he or she might not even have hands on the wheel. Cadillac announced plans yesterday to roll out Super Cruise, a hands-free driver assistance feature designed for use in highway driving, throughout their entire lineup beginning in 2020.

Assuming no changes to the lineup for the 2020 model year, that means that hands-free highway driving will be available in ATS, CTS and CT6 passenger cars, the XT5 crossover, and the Escalade full-size SUV.

Several interconnected on-board technology systems factor into the driver-assistance functionality of Super Cruise, including LiDAR map data, high-precision GPS, a driver attention system and a network of camera and radar sensors.

GM says that an active OnStar Service plan with emergency services will be required to maintain then functionality of Super Cruise, which will allow hands-free driving on more than 130,000 miles of limited-access freeways in the U.S. and Canada.

The driver attention system will serve as a safety check to help ensure that drivers remain engaged, monitoring the road and refraining from distractions such as using hand-held devices.

In the Super Cruise announcement, GM also revealed plans to offer V2X communications in a high-volume crossover model by 2023. Building on existing vehicle-to-vehicle (VTV) technology that GM introduced with the 2017 CTS sedan, V2X technology has the potential to extend the capabilities to include communication with roadway infrastructure and other roadway users, such as cyclists and pedestrians.

According to GM, this will enable compatible vehicles to receive notification of issues such as hazardous road conditions, traffic light statuses, and changing work zones, with capability within a range of 1,000 feet to alert drivers to possible threats in time to avoid a crash.

“The expansion of Super Cruise and V2X communications technology demonstrates Cadillac’s commitment to innovation, and to making customers’ lives better,” said Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president of Global Product Development, who announced these expanded driver assistance features at the Intelligent Transportation Society’s annual conference in Detroit. “GM is just as committed to ushering in a new era of personal transportation, and technologies like these will enable it.”

According to published reports, the Super Cruise system will also be made available in other brands in the GM family following the initial Cadillac launch. This fits a long-term GM tendency to introduce high-end technology features in their luxury flagship first, before building them down through their brand portfolio.

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