Nissan isn’t the only auto maker with 2020 in mind for its self-driving car technology.
General Motors will have a car on the road in about the same timeframe that will almost be able to drive itself. The system, called “Super Cruise,” is a more matured version of adaptive cruise control systems used in cars today. Radar and cameras will maintain a safe following distance from the next car like current technology. The system will also be able to keep the car within the lane and come to a complete stop if needed.
Most of that isn’t new, but GM says the ability for the car to steer itself is. While there are still bugs to be worked out, the company says an application of the system used in a Cadillac SRX (pictured) worked very well.
John Capp, GM’s director of electrical controls and active safety technology, said the biggest obstacle with fully autonomous cars is how they react to vehicles that aren’t equipped with the technology. He said driverless cars are still 20 to 30 years away.
Once fully developed, GM intends Super Cruise to let drivers take their hands off the wheel during highway driving. But the system won’t be designed to allow drivers to completely ignore the road.
“Super Cruise will be designed in a way to help you keep your visual attention on the road ahead. The ‘how’ is something that will become more apparent as we show Super Cruise in its later versions,” GM engineer Charles Green told the Detroit Free Press.
On Tuesday, Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn committed to putting autonomous cars on the road by 2020. General Motors’ announcement doesn’t make quite the same bold commitment, but that could prove to be an advantage.
Completely self-driving cars tend to make people nervous, but marketing something at a car that needs a driver but will help on long highway stints might be easier. At least to start.
If both companies remain on the paths they announced this week, GM could find itself in a similar position as when the Volt came online after the Leaf. Nissan’s product represents a bigger customer commitment to new technology, while GM’s product will straddle the line between mainstream acceptability and early adoption.
[Source: Detroit Free Press]
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