General Motors have announced that in the next 7 years, they will put a car on the road that can almost drive itself. The system, called “Super Cruise,” is a more developed version of the 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.
GM and other automakers such as BMW, Mercedes and Lexus already offer radar-guided cruise control, which keeps the car a safe distance from other vehicles and even stop before a potential crash. They also have systems that warn drivers when drifting out of their lane. But according to General Motors, until recently, engineers haven't been able to steer just with computers.
Engineers presented the system for reporters at the company's testing grounds in Milford, Michigan. The system adds control of electric power steering to the current technology. Although there are a couple of bugs at this time, a Cadillac SRX SUV equipped with the technology worked very well for a beta-testing.
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. John Capp, GM’s director of electrical controls and active safety technology, said the biggest obstacle with fully autonomous cars is the way they react to vehicles that aren’t equipped with the same technology. He believes driverless cars are still 20 to 30 years away.
Last week, Nissan stated they want to make cars that drive fully by themselves by 2020. Does that mean that Nissan will be ahead of the game? Maybe, but based on John Capp's prediction, they might be too ahead of the game in a world where the others are not playing the same game.
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