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GM is expanding its hands-free driving system to rural highways

GM is expanding access to Super Cruise with plans to let drivers use the hands-free advanced driver assistance system on about 750,000 miles of roads in the United States and Canada. The expansion, which will nearly double the automaker’s Super Cruise network by 2025, will include rural and minor highways that often connect smaller cities and townships.

The upgrade comes as automakers are increasingly pushing the boundaries of advanced driver assistance systems in a bid to attract customers and generate revenue beyond vehicle sales.

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 watching the road. When the system is activated, it will accelerate or brake to maintain a selected following distance from a vehicle ahead, steer to keep its lane position and make automatic change lanes to pass slower traffic and the ability to deploy the system while towing a trailer. The automatic lane change is not available while trailering, the company said.

The expanded Super Cruise network will not be accessible to owners of the Cadillac CT6, Chevrolet Bolt EUV and Cadillac XT6, according to the company.

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 be directed straight ahead. Ford offers a competing hands-free system called Blue Cruise that launched in 2021.

Super Cruise launched in 2017 as the industry’s first true hands-free ADAS on the market. However, GM wasn’t viewed a dominant player — despite the capability of the system — because it severely limited access to Super Cruise. For three years, the system was only available on one model, the Cadillac CT6, and was restricted to certain divided highways.

The automaker has slowly expanded its Super Cruise highway network as well, first growing to 200,000 miles and then doubling it to 400,000 in 2022. GM has also added the system to more brands and models. Today, 15 vehicles globally have Super Cruise, including the Chevy Bolt EUV, Chevy Suburban, Chevy Tahoe and Chevy Silverado, the GM Hummer EV SUV and all Cadillac models. The Super Cruise with trailering feature will be offered in new models like the 2024 Chevrolet Traverse or 2024 GMC Acadia

As GM crept forward, Tesla gained followers largely due to accessibility. Tesla made its Autopilot system standard in all of its vehicles and drivers could access it on all highways. The automaker’s upgraded systems, namely the $12,000 Full Self-Driving software gained followers, has added capabilities and can even be used on city streets.

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