General Motors Want to Make Cars Autonomous By 2016

By Jamie Condliffe on at

General Motors (GM) is already taking technology in cars seriously, but it has plans to take it to the next level, and soon. Yesterday, the company announced that in less than two years its cars will communicate with each other — and hopefully even drive themselves.

Now it's worth noting that General Motors do not have the kind of automotive presence in the UK that they do in the US; Cheverolet, Buick and Cadillac are all household names in the States, but are far more rare here in Blighty. It is still interesting to see what steps they are taking toward self-driving cars, though, as it will certainly influence car design across the globe.

At a conference in Detroit yesterday, GM's Chief Executive Mary Barra announced that in 2016 the company will roll out two new major smart features in its cars. First, the 2017-model Cadillac CTS saloon, available at the end of 2016 in the US, will feature vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology as a standard feature (though it will only communicate with similarly equipped vehicles).

Perhaps more excitingly, a new, unidentified 2017 Cadillac model will feature Super Cruise, which will allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel not just on the highway but at stop-and-go speeds, too; thus providing lane following, speed control and automated braking. It's not clear what technologies these features will use, nor how much they'll cost.

Barra correctly pointed out that hands-free driving requires responsible drivers, adding that that it will be some time before we see fully autonomous cars on the roads. Indeed, she suggested that commercialising a fully automated vehicle could take until the next decade. Worth the wait, though, right? [Reuters via Recode]

Image by jm3 on Flickr under Creative Commons license