General Motors (GM) announced Sunday that it is looking to release cars with hands-free driving systems and Wi-Fi enabled vehicle-to-vehicle communications by 2016.
The feature, which the Detroit-based automaker refers to as the “Super Cruise” system, was introduced in 2012 and is intended to keep vehicles in one lane and make necessary changes to speed and steering when the driver is in traffic or on a long trip, according to CNET.
Mary Barra, chief executive of GM, talked about the system at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Detroit on Sunday, saying in a speech that the company plans on introducing the feature in a high-end Cadillac on a 2017 model, and will eventually be integrated into other brands.
“With Super Cruise, when there’s a congestion alert on roads like California’s Santa Monica Freeway, you can let the car take over and drive hands-free and feet-free through the worst stop and go traffic around,” Barra said. “And if the mood strikes you on the high-speed road from Barstow, California to Las Vegas, you can take a break from the wheel and pedals and let the car do the work.”
GM officials said the Super Cruise system won’t remove drivers’ needs to pay attention and be ready to retake control of their cars, The Wall Street Journal reported. John Capp, director of global safety strategy and vehicle programs at GM, said the system is designed to get drivers to stay attentive even when they have the option to give their hands a break from the wheel.
The officials added that the automated system is different from the completely automated, “driverless” system that Google is pushing for its vehicles.
GM has yet to reveal the price for the feature, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Barra also said on Sunday that GM is looking to add vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications to its 2017 model Cadillac CTS sedans in order to reduce traffic congestion and help drivers avoid traffic accidents. The technology uses the same wireless network featured in laptops and mobile phones to connect cars and allow them to share positions and speed information with each other. The feature can help drivers in various situations, such as detecting when the car in front of them is braking hard, CNET reported.
“I’m convinced customers will embrace V2V and automated driving technologies for one simple reason: they are the answer to everyday problems that people want solved,” Barra said.
GM joins several other automakers that are getting involved in autonomous driving, such as Ford, Nissan, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Delphi, Toyota and Tesla.