GM readies hands-free Cadillac for 2017 launch

New model will feature 'Super Cruise' technology that takes control of steering and acceleration

The front grill of a 2013 Cadillac SRX Crossover. The 2017 Cadillac model will feature “Super Cruise” technology that takes control of steering, acceleration and braking at highway speeds of 70 miles per hour or in stop-and-go congested traffic. Photograph: Allison Joyce/Reuters

The front grill of a 2013 Cadillac SRX Crossover. The 2017 Cadillac model will feature “Super Cruise” technology that takes control of steering, acceleration and braking at highway speeds of 70 miles per hour or in stop-and-go congested traffic. Photograph: Allison Joyce/Reuters

 

General Motors, the largest US automaker, will introduce a Cadillac model in two years that can travel on the highway without the driver holding the steering wheel or putting a foot on a pedal.

The 2017 Cadillac model will feature “Super Cruise” technology that takes control of steering, acceleration and braking at highway speeds of 70 miles per hour or in stop-and-go congested traffic, chief executive officer Mary Barra said yesterday in a speech at the Intelligent Transport System World Congress in Detroit. GM declined to release the name of the model that will carry the feature. Barra also said GM in two years will become the first automaker to equip a model with so-called vehicle-to-vehicle technology that enables the car to communicate with other autos with similar abilities to warn of traffic hazards and improve road safety.

GM will make the V2V feature standard on its 2017 Cadillac CTS sedan, debuting in the second half of 2016, she said. The Super Cruise feature will be on a different Cadillac model and goes beyond similar technology available on some Mercedes-Benz models that operates only at low speeds.

“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 in the speech at Cobo Center in Detroit. “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. Having it done for you -- that’s true luxury.”

All-new Cadillac

The technology will be included in “an all-new Cadillac that’s going to enter a segment where we don’t compete today,” Barra said. The Super Cruise feature may be greeted with skepticism from consumers, said Michelle Krebs, an analyst with researcher AutoTrader.com in Royal Oak, Michigan. “There is still a concern by consumers about the safety of their vehicles because there’s been so many recalls,” Krebs said. “This is going to take a while to win the confidence of consumers.”

GM understands it faces the tough task of perfecting the technology before the cars hit the road, Barra said after the speech.

“It’s critical that it works flawlessly every single time,” Barra told reporters. “When you look at what has got to come together to make this happen -- not just for straight driving on a section of highway, but for every city situation you can imagine -- there’s quite a bit of technology that has to come together to make this work.”

Bloomberg

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