General Motors is inching closer to self-driving vehicles with the introduction of a new feature that will enable some Cadillacs to change lanes on their own.
GM announced Tuesday it’s upgrading its Super Cruise system to enable automated lane changing. The technology will safely change lanes when drivers signal they’d like to do so.
Super Cruise already enables hands-free driving on fully mapped highways. It keeps the car centered in its lane, brakes, accelerates and notifies drivers when they must take over the controls. A camera system monitors the driver’s eye-movement to ensure the driver is still paying attention to the road.
The upgrade places Super Cruise in the same sphere as Tesla’s Autopilot, which can also change lanes with a tap of the signal, stay centered, brake and accelerate on its own.
The upgraded system will launch on the 2021 Cadillac CT4 and CT5 sedans and will also be available on the 2021 Cadillac Escalade SUV, which has been redesigned and will be revealed next week. GM previously said the Super Cruise system would be available on all Cadillac models beginning in 2020.
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Here’s how GM says the upgraded system works:
When Super Cruise is engaged, the driver can either tap or fully latch the turn signal to indicate that they would like to change lanes. This will prompt the system to look for an acceptable opening in the indicated lane, while also taking time to let other cars know that a lane change is imminent. If the system determines that the indicated lane is open, the vehicle will merge into said lane. The driver attention system will continue to require the driver to focus on the surroundings during the lane change.
Upon initiation, the gauge cluster will display messages letting the driver know when the automated lane change has begun, or if lane change is unavailable and changing lanes must be manually completed by the driver. The system will display messages, such as “looking for an opening” or “changing lanes” to keep the driver informed on the status of the lane change.
The Super Cruise system, which debuted in 2017, uses cameras, radar, mapping data and GPS to monitor the road. It can be activated on more than 200,000 miles of highways in the U.S. and Canada.
GM has not announced pricing for the optional Super Cruise system. The technology currently comes standard on the CT6 Premium Luxury and CT6 Platinum, which cost $74,495 and $96,495, respectively. The standard CT6 costs $58,995.
While upgrading Super Cruise, GM continues to pursue completely driverless vehicles. The company’s Cruise division last week revealed a self-driving vehicle called Origin but did not announce a projected release date.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.