Like it or not, vehicular automation is coming, backed by some of the largest players in the automotive and technology industries.
And, as a system in its infancy it has a long way to go before becoming the complete ‘read a book on the way to work’ system of science fiction.
With that in mind General Motors has decreed that its self-driving system, currently under development, won’t take control away from drivers, requiring them to play an active monitoring role while the system is active.
The move sees GM’s system, called Super Cruise, delayed slightly to ensure that the system is safe for use. Originally expected to arrive this year, Super Cruise won’t debut until 2017.
The system is self will require a ‘hands-on’ approach from the driver to work, that doesn’t mean you’ll actually need to keep your hands on the wheel, but you wil need to pay attention to what’s going on.
As with other autonomous systems, Super Cruise will be able to maintain lane position, distance from other cars, and come to a standstill if required.
Unlike systems announced so far, Super Cruise will also monitor the driver, with sensors designed to monitor a driver’s eye movements to ensure the driver remains attentive.
In situations where the driver looks away for too long, or falls asleep Super Cruise can alert the driver, and if they fail to respond, slow the vehicle and contact an OnStar operator to investigate what’s happening.
Executive Vice President of GM, Mark Reuss, likened the system to the autopilot systems used in aircraft, whereby the pilot must remain in control, but the plane itself takes care of the actual flying in an effort to reduce fatigue.
Super Cruise is expected to make its debut in the Cadillac range, with no word yet on when the system might filter down to other vehicles in GM’s range.