GM said Friday that it would have hands-free trailering, automatic lane change, and a better navigation display for its semi-autonomous Super Cruise system in 2022 Cadillac Escalades, CT4s, CT5s, Chevy Silverados, GMC Sierras, and GMC Hummer EVs. It’s safe to read this as yet another bid to get ahead of Tesla, or stay ahead, depending on how you see it.
Tesla’s Cybertruck is supposed to get here later this year, though full production isn’t planned until next year, a timeline that remains a little iffy. That car will have Tesla’s Autopilot standard and Full Self-Driving (which is not full self-driving) optional; Super Cruise is GM’s answer to those technologies, and already better than Autopilot, at least according to Consumer Reports. Friday’s announcement is could be seen as GM’s attempt to shore up that leadership position ahead of Cybertruck.
“The additional Super Cruise-enabled vehicles and new features are an important step toward our goal of enabling hands-free driving 95% of the time and getting people more comfortable with letting go of the wheel,” Mario Maiorana, Super Cruise chief engineer, said in a statement.
GM describes the new features thusly:
- Trailering – Customers will be able to trailer their boat, camper and more while driving hands-free.
- Automatic lane change – The technology can indicate when a lane change is optimal and initiate the maneuver, while following signaling protocols.
- Enhanced navigation display – Super Cruise compatible roads will be displayed in the in-vehicle navigation systems for vehicles equipped with the embedded Google Maps app and show routes available for hands-free driving, during route selection.
GM also says that some 2021 models can get the upgrades via over-the-air update. There are some 200,000 miles of Super Cruise-enabled roads in the U.S. and Canada where the system will change lanes on demand. This new feature will go to the left-lane automatically if it detects that the car in front of it is driving slower than the speed that Super Cruise is set; GM said that auto lane change would not be available while trailering.
In total, GM plans to have Super Cruise on 22 models by 2023, it says. Over to you, Elon.