DETROIT -- General Motors CEO Mary Barra said Cadillac will launch a CTS sedan with vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology in about two years, as GM looks to establish itself as a leader in the connected-car space.
Barra said Cadillac also in about two years will introduce a system on another Cadillac model that will allow hands-off driving -- with the vehicle taking over the braking and steering in certain driving conditions -- in a system GM now calls Super Cruise.
The semi-autonomous driving feature will be offered as an option on "an all-new Cadillac that's going to enter a segment where we don't compete today," Barra said in prepared remarks for a speech to the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress here on Sunday.
Both the vehicle-to-vehicle feature on the CTS and the semi-autonomous system on the unidentified Cadillac will be introduced for the 2017 model year, GM said.
GM said the vehicle-to-vehicle technology on the CTS could prevent some crashes and improve congestion by transmitting basic information such as location and speed between vehicles, alerting drivers to an impending hazard. The system could warn of a vehicle five spots ahead on the highway braking hard, for example.
But GM executives acknowledge that its capabilities will be limited until a significant number of vehicles are equipped with technology allowing them to talk to one another. It likely will be the first automaker to offer a vehicle-to-vehicle communication system on a production vehicle.
"If nobody else by two years from now puts V2V on a vehicle, the first car off the line will be waiting for another CTS to talk to," John Capp, director of GM's global safety strategy, told reporters ahead of Barra's speech.
More following suit?
Capp said GM hopes its announcement in part will accelerate the development of federal regulations and rules regarding vehicle-to-vehicle communication and will prompt other automakers to add similar systems
In her prepared remarks, Barra said GM wants to be "at the vanguard" of the evolution of vehicle-to-vehicle capabilities, and described the first production version of the technology on the CTS as "starting the conversation."
"The sooner the industry puts a critical mass of V2V-equipped vehicles on the road, the more accidents we'll prevent," Barra's prepared remarks said.
Barra said that the Super Cruise technology would allow a driver to let the car do most of the work in both highway driving and congested conditions.
"You can let the car take over and drive hands-free and feet-free through the worst stop-and-go traffic around," Barra said. "Having it done for you -- that's true luxury."
Barra said that a system to allow fully autonomous driving likely won't be ready "until the next decade."
Capp said the system would include safeguards to ensure that drivers remain alert and engaged, although he declined to detail the method that would be used.
"We need to be able to understand: Is the driver attentive or not?" Capp said.
While the vehicle-to-vehicle system on the CTS will be offered standard for 2017, the Super Cruise package will a pricey option on the other Cadillac model. GM's top active-safety package today, offered on its Cadillac sedans for about an extra $2,400, includes features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert and automatic front and rear braking.
GM also said that it is partnering with Ford Motor Co., the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Transportation to equip 120 miles of Detroit-area highway with cameras and sensors to collect data that can be sent to cars with vehicle-to-vehicle capabilities.
The goal of the research project is to reduce accidents, MDOT said in a statement. For example, "if a V2V-enabled car makes a sudden stop in heavy fog, or its stability control engages on a rain-slick road, every V2V-enabled car around it will know almost instantaneously," the statement said.
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