GM spurs development of automated driving

September 08, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
General Motors is planning to take the lead in highly automated driving: While European carmakers pursue rather long-term plans with automated driving, the US carmaker now changed to the fast lane: Within two years, this feature will be available in GM series vehicles.

At the ongoing Congress of the Intelligent Transport Society in Detroit, GM Chief Executive Mary Barra announced that within two years GM cars will be equipped with the SuperCruise feature that enables a vehicle to steer autonomously in traffic congestions as well as on fast highways. "With SuperCruise, when there is a congestion alert ... you can et the car take over and drive hands-free and feet-free through the worst stop-and-go traffic", she said. But SuperCruise won't be restricted to this type of traffic situation. "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", Barra added. With these plans, GM presses ahead to introduce automated driving features significantly faster than its European counterparts.

GM's automated driving technology development goes back to the Darpa Urban challenge in 2007 where a GM vehicle - a Chevrolet Tahoe dubbed 'Boss' - navigated through 60 miles of mixed traffic including intersections and stop signs in automatic mode.

But according to Barra highly automated driving is not the only target on GM's technology roadmap. Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2C) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2C) communications will also play a major role, and they will be a cornerstone of GMs automated driving concept. "I see V2I as a natural complement to the active traffic management projects that are up and running in European countries like England, Germany, Greece and the Netherlands", Barra said.

The SuperCruise feature includes full-fledged Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure communications capability. The company demonstrated the maturity of its technology with an automated Opel Insignia model that is equipped with digital maps and GPS, six Lidar sensors in the bumpers and both V2V and V2I technology.

Further reading:

Ford demos automated driving at Mobile World Congress

Toyota develops its own automated driving technology

Continental rolls out schedule for automatic driving

Google robot car targets urban services