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Cadillac to add hands-free Super Cruise system to all cars starting in 2020

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After that, other GM-owned vehicles will get it

Cadillac CT6
Cadillac CT6
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

GM’s stinginess with its excellent hands-free Super Cruise advanced driver assist system is nearing an end. Today, the premium brand announced plans to roll out the semi-autonomous feature to all its cars starting in 2020, after which point, it will start appearing in other GM-owned vehicles as well.

When it first debuted in the Cadillac CT6 last year, Super Cruise drew immediate comparisons to Tesla’s Autopilot system. It uses LIDAR, cameras, sensors, and mapping data to allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel while driving on divided highways, but it has an infrared camera on the steering column to make sure eyes stay on the road.

A more comprehensive driver assistance system than those offered by the likes of Nissan and Volvo, Super Cruise was Cadillac’s way of breaking out of old stereotypes and introducing the brand to new customers.

But a year after its launch, Cadillac had little information about the future of Super Cruise beyond the CT6. When it debuted its 2019 XT4 luxury SUV at the New York Auto Show earlier this year, Super Cruise was noticeably absent. Meanwhile, other automakers were installing advanced driver assist systems in mass-market vehicles, like the Nissan Altima with ProPilot Assist.

Of course, Super Cruise doesn’t come cheap. CT6 buyers shell out $2,500 for the standalone option on luxury (sticker price: $66,290) and platinum models ($85,290). Also, on luxury models, Super Cruise requires buyers to purchase the $3,100 driver assist package. No word yet on how it will be priced in future models.

Cadillac also plans to offer vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication capabilities in an unnamed high-volume crossover vehicle by 2023, with the goal of expanding the technology across Cadillac’s portfolio.

When cars talk with each other, they do it by exchanging data wirelessly over an unlicensed spectrum called the Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) band, using technology similar to Wi-Fi. The FCC has set aside spectrum in the 5.9GHz band specifically for this purpose, and it is only meant to be used for V2X applications. That includes vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), and vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) — so cars talking to other cars, to traffic signals, or to the phone in your pocket.

Last year, GM said that its 2017 Cadillac CTS sedans would come equipped with DSRC-enabled V2V technology that will allow them to detect potential hazards, like slippery roads or disabled vehicles in its path.