GM is rolling out three major upgrades including automatic lanes changes and towing support to its hands-free driver assistance system Super Cruise and making it available in six vehicles, including the 2022 all-new GMC Hummer EV pickup truck.
While GM has steadily improved Super Cruise since its introduction in 2017, for years it has been limited to its luxury Cadillac brand. The improvements and additional vehicles mark the automaker’s willingness — and perhaps readiness — to sell owners of its Chevrolet- and GMC-branded pickup trucks on the technology.
When GM launched Super Cruise, it was only available in one Cadillac model — the full-size CT6 sedan — and restricted to divided highways. That began to change in 2019 when GM announced plans to expand where Super Cruise would be available. Now the system can be activated on more than 200,000 miles of roads in the United States.
And GM is planning to expand even further. By 2023, GM aims to bring Super Cruise to 22 vehicles, including the upcoming EVs Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer SUV.
The company said Friday it is adding automatic lane changes that function without a driver prompt to Super Cruise. This feature in the enhanced Super Cruise will be available in the 2022 Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac CT4, Cadillac CT5, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Hummer EV Pickup and GMC Sierra. GM has also developed and will launch a new feature that will allow drivers to engage the hands-free assistance system while trailering their boat or camper. This trailering feature will be available only in 2022 model year vehicles that have towing capability. Finally, GM has upgraded its in-car navigation to show drivers the highways where Super Cruise can be used.
Super Cruise uses a combination of lidar map data, high-precision GPS, cameras and radar sensors, as well as a driver attention system, which monitors the person behind the wheel to ensure they’re paying attention. Unlike Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system, users of Super Cruise do not need to have their hands on the wheel. However, their eyes must remain directed straight ahead.
The automatic lane change feature in Super Cruise will still require the driver to keep their eyes on the road. When the system is engaged, the driver no longer needs to engage the turn signal to indicate a desire to change lanes. Instead, the system, if engaged, will make the lane change on its own after alerting the driver. The system will move the vehicle to the other lane to pass a slower vehicle.
The driver-prompted automatic lane change will be the default when the vehicle is towing a boat, camper or trailer.
All of these upgrades are possible thanks to GM’s newish digital vehicle platform called VIP, or vehicle intelligence platform, which provides more electrical bandwidth and data processing power and enabled engineers to add to Super Cruise’s capabilities. Vehicles equipped with this VIP electrical architecture can add features Super Cruise via over-the-air software updates. That means certain 2021 models, specifically the Cadillac Escalade, will get these new upgrades.
There are a couple of vehicles, namely the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV, that have a different version of Super Cruise because it is not equipped with VIP. As a result, the Bolt EUV won’t get these upgrades.