2017 Cadillacs to feature driver-assist, vehicle-to-vehicle communication

General Motors Co. will debut a 2017 Cadillac CTS with standard technology capable of talking to other cars and roadway infrastructure to alert drivers of hazards.

It also will roll out advanced driver-assist technology that will allow a vehicle to drive itself on highways at full speed or in stop-and-go traffic; the feature called Super Cruise will debut on a different 2017 Cadillac. Both vehicles would hit showrooms in about two years, the automaker said.

The march toward smarter, more connected transportation isn’t just in cars. The state of Michigan said Sunday it will begin installing technology next spring on Metro Detroit freeways to enable connected cars to communicate with the roadway, through sensors and cameras along the roadways, in hopes to help traffic flow and cut down on crashes.

GM expects to be the first automaker to offer a car with vehicle-to-vehicle technology allowing it to communicate with other vehicles and transportation points to alert drivers to potential problems in road conditions and in its path ahead. For example, the upcoming CTS could alert a driver that a car five vehicles ahead suddenly braked.

The carmaker expects possibly to be the first to offer semi-automated driver-assist technology — what GM calls Super Cruise — that allows drivers on highways to take their hands off the wheel and foot off the gas.

Company CEO Mary Barra made the announcements Sunday, to hundreds during the kickoff of the annual World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems. Thousands of industry professionals from around the world are gathering this week for the event, which this year is at Cobo Center. GM said it is deploying the technologies to help reduce or eliminate traffic crashes and road congestion, as well as help the environment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expects to announce by late 2016 rules that would require vehicle-to-vehicle communication; estimates say technology could reduce up to 80 percent traffic accidents.

“We need to bring it all to market and do it quickly,” Barra said. “Let’s strive to build cars and trucks that don’t crash.”

The Michigan Department of Transportation said Sunday it is partnering with GM, Ford Motor Co. and the University of Michigan Mobility Transformation Center consortium to add vehicle-to-infrastructure communication to more than 120 miles of Metro Detroit highways. It’s expected to be the largest deployment of vehicle-to-infrastructure technology in the U.S. when fully completed.

The first “connected corridor” is slated for the heavily traveled 50-mile stretch of Interstate 96/Interstate 696 from U.S. 23 in Brighton to Interstate 94 in St. Clair Shores, MDOT says. Work will begin in the spring, State Transportation Director Kirt T. Steudle said.

“From an infrastructure perspective, we’ve got to do this,” Steudle told The Detroit News. “We’ve got to figure out how we’re going to do this. … There’s too many lives that are depending on doing this.”

The state will add a network of sensors and cameras on the sides of highways to collect data that can be communicated to vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure equipped cars. The cost is expected to be in the millions, but will come from state and federal funding, as well as private sources such as cellphone companies that may have an interest in working on the system, Steudle said. Other freeway stretches likely to get the technology include parts of I-94, U.S. 23 and I-75, GM’s Chief Technology Officer Jon Lauckner said Sunday.

MDOT said, for example, if a car equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle technology stops suddenly in fog or if a vehicle’s stability-control system turned on while driving along a slippery highway, every other car equipped with the technology would know “almost instantaneously” and drivers would have time to react.

GM said it does not plan to help the state pay for roadway upgrades. Barra called upon Congress to fund research on vehicle-to-vehicle technology and pay for associated highway infrastructure. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Sunday also called on Congress to pass a bill with ample funding.

GM said the Cadillac with optional Super Cruise will be able to drive itself on highways under normal driving conditions, though Lauckner and John Capp, GM’s director of global safety strategies and vehicle programs, said drivers will need to remain engaged.

“We are working on some technology that makes sure they stay engaged in a very, I think, clever way that you’ll hear more about as we get closer to the rollout,” Barra told reporters.

The Super Cruise technology will be available on a new luxury vehicle in a segment in which Cadillac does not currently compete.

It could be years until other automakers offer other vehicles with the technology. So at the start, only a few CTS cars may actually be able to talk to one another. But Steudle said other automakers are working on similar technology and he expects more announcements are forthcoming.

Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure works by sending and receiving data over radio frequencies; information includes vehicle location, speed and direction of travel. The technology will warn drivers of hazards and can work with features already on many luxury and premium cars such as forward-collision warning.

GM confirmed that supplier Delphi Automotive is supplying the technology on the CTS. Delphi, which has a large presence in Michigan, said Friday it will be the first to market vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology.

Adding the vehicle-to-vehicle technology could cost about $300 per car, according to NHTSA. Super Cruise driver-assist would likely be part of a top-of-the-line technology packagebut it didn’t say how much it would cost. Cadillac’s top technology package currently costs buyers an extra $3,000, GM said.

“I’m convinced customers will embrace (vehicle-to-vehicle) and automated-driving technologies for one simple reason: They are the answers to everyday problems that people want solved,” Barra said.

The ITS conference is bringing together 10,000 automakers, suppliers, government officials and other industry leaders from across the globe to showcase technologies. In addition to panel discussions and speakers at Cobo, more than 30 demonstrations of connected and autonomous vehicles will take place beginning Monday on Belle Isle.

GM plans to demonstrate an Opel Insignia equipped with cameras, sensors, and vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication; automated driving will be demonstrated at low speeds, in stop-and-go city traffic and at highway speeds. GM will demonstrate vehicle-to-pedestrian communication on a Chevy Cruze that alerts drivers to construction workers.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140907/AUTO0103/309070042#ixzz3D1sMOaEu

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