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GM plans to sell cars with 'highly automated driving technology' in two years' time

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2017 Cadillacs to include Super Cruise and V2V tech

GM has announced details of its first cars to employ automated driving technology. Addressing the Intelligent Transport Society today, CEO Mary Barra said a new Cadillac model equipped with what the company calls Super Cruise, a semi-automatic system that enables hands-free driving on highways whether you're traveling fast or stuck in traffic, will go on sale in around two years. Barra calls Super Cruise "an advanced, highly automated driving technology" that lets the driver "take a break from the wheel and pedals and let the car do the work."

"Take a break from the wheel and pedals and let the car do the work."

Also set to hit the market in two years is GM's first car equipped with V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) technology. The 2017 Cadillac CTS will be able to communicate with other V2V cars and infrastructure to help reduce crashes and congestion. Barra compared the technology to active traffic management projects that are up and running in various parts of the world, but believes the concept has the potential to be "much more impactful" if the cars themselves were communicating with the roads and each other.

GM's initiatives are less ambitious than projects like Google's futuristic, fully-automated self-driving car, but they also have much more likelihood of making it to market through the tangled web of regulation. "It’s going to be a creep, it’s not going to be a mind-bending thing," said GM's product development chief Mark Reuss earlier this year. "I don’t think you’re going to see an autonomous vehicle take over the city anytime soon."

But it's a space the storied carmaker knows it needs to be aware of, with Reuss saying that Google could become a "serious competitive threat" to the automotive industry if the technology takes off. And that's something that GM's CEO believes will happen. "I'm convinced customers will embrace V2V and automated driving technologies for one simple reason: they are the answer to everyday problems that people want solved," Barra said tonight.