Categorized | Auto, Product Reviews

GM Jumps at Hands Free Driving

On Sunday the CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra revealed GM’s plans to introduce hands free driving capabilities into their more high end brands by 2017. The company has begun shifting their focus into more safety features for their customers in the wake of the industry record setting amount of recalls made by a single company. Google was one of the first companies to introduce their version of the hands free driving experience a few months ago, when they revealed a 2 passenger egg like vehicle. GM has released plans to introduce this type of technology into their more well known and already established sales lineup.

The Face of SafetyGM 2

Many of the auto manufacturers have been in a technology war with each other. Some of these companies make the Cold War arms race seem benign with amount of new technology being developed and introduced into the cars that are driving on the roads of today and tomorrow. Since the backlash of the recent and soaring numbers of vehicles that were recalled by GM, the company has taken on a new role which looks to be one focused on safety. The US among other countries have been implementing new laws and regulations in an effort to cut accidents and death rates related to automobile crashes. Just as there is a war for fuel economy between the various brands, the technology war on safety has thrown brands to become ingenious on the best ways to increase safety while maintaining cost. Barra had stated that the company is “…not doing this for the sake of technology itself. We’re doing it because it’s what the customers around the world want. Through technology and innovation, we will make driving safer.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had recently estimated the cost of automobile crashes in the US per year. That study concluded that it cost the US tax payers more than 870 billion dollars per year to deal with rising automobile crashes. Due to the rising population and the increasing amount of new drivers hitting the road with every new year, the likelihood of accidents increases as well. Despite the surging numbers of recalls by GM as well as many other brands, the auto manufacturers feel that the implementation of this reactive software will allow for drivers to avoid collisions and operate their vehicles more safely. Amid the recent astonishing numbers of GM recalls, Barra continued to state that “Customers still trust GM because GM cars are safe.” The company has recalled more than 15 million vehicles at a cost of roughly 1.6 billion dollars in recall related customer claims.

“Super Cruise”GM

GM announced on Sunday their plans to take hands free driving to another level by allowing for bigger vehicles to enjoy the capability that has only been tested in smaller vehicles. GM will be applying this technology to their higher end Cadillac brand which will feature the technology coined as Super Cruise, which will allow the driver to operate the vehicle and drive hands free. Around the same time Cadillac will be offering vehicle to vehicle communication technology in their CTS model. The communication software will allow cars to essentially talk with each other and react to others should there be sudden stops or erratic driving behavior in an effort to reduce collisions. This technology is already in demand in Europe and around the world in some of the more congested regions. Europe and China would be some of the biggest markets where cars and trucks equipped with this type of technology would be in the highest demands.

The Super Cruise feature is said to allow the vehicle to maintain a safe distance from others around it while being able to react to the slowing and speeding up of traffic around the car. The technology will also use current software that warns drivers about unintentional lane departure by correcting the direction of vehicle to maintain its place within the given lane. Unlike traditional cruise control which only allows the vehicle to maintain a certain speed, this new Super Cruise will basically allow the driver to be driven and take a break from the stresses of a daily commute or even an extended road trip.

GM has promised that while the company will be rebuilding the Cadillac brand it will be this introduction of new safe technology that will help drive the brands popularity and sales. While in the past the GM brands may have suffered from a tarnished brand name with all the recalls but according to the company’s key spokeswoman and CEO Mary Barra, the brand has always produced safe cars and continues to do so. The addition of the hands free driving capability will allow the company to gain an edge over their competition while allowing their customers to enjoy a better driving experience.


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