Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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GM Super Cruise network to see big self-driving expansion

General Motors announced Thursday that it’s adding minor highways and rural roads to its hands-free Super Cruise technology network, expanding to about 750,000 miles across the U.S. and Canada.
Super Cruise, which was launched in 2017, was most recently expanded to 400,000 miles, and GM said the new addition of roads to the system make it “the largest truly hands-free operating domain in North America — nearly six times the coverage of other hands-free driver assistance technologies on the market today.”
The new roads are already being added to the network “incrementally” and will be added through 2025, GM said. Most vehicles with Super Cruise technology will receive the expansion, except the Cadillac CT6, Chevrolet Bolt EUV, and Cadillac XT6. Super Cruise uses real-time cameras and sensors in the cars, along with GPS and LiDAR map data, to allow hands-free driving and automatic lane changing. Jeff Miller, product manager for Super Cruise, told The Verge that the hands-free technology will not gain new capabilities such as traffic lights and four-way stops.
GM says that over 80% of surveyed owners of vehicles with Super Cruise “have said it makes driving more relaxing,” and over 160 million miles “have been driven accident-free with Super Cruise.” Miller told The Verge “there could be” accidents eventually, but that GM “designed the system as robustly as possible.”
“GM is committed to the safety of our customers and our vehicles, and that’s why we are judicious about expanding access on roads where we are confident in the feature’s ability,” the company said in a statement. “Alongside separate work on fully autonomous vehicles with Cruise, safely deploying and expanding access to advanced driver assistance systems, like Super Cruise, is an important step in gaining consumer trust and excitement around the future of transportation.”
Despite its expansion of the Super Cruise network, GM’s entry into the world of autonomous driving has been a bumpy road. In December, its autonomous vehicle arm, Cruise, was forced to shut down operations after it dismissed nine executives and laid off 24% of its workers amid investigations into the company. In October, one of the company’s robo-taxis hit a pedestrian in San Francisco and dragged her 20 feet, prompting California’s Department of Motor Vehicles to ban Cruise from operating its vehicles in the city. Cruise eventually suspended its U.S. operations in Austin, and Houston, and Phoenix as federal regulators launched an investigation into the company. In January, Cruise offered to pay $75,000 to resolve the investigation into its failure to report the incident involving the pedestrian.
Before October, Cruise was already dealing with incidents involving its vehicles, including a recall of 80 vehicles in June after a crash in San Francisco left two people injured, and traffic jams caused by Cruise vehicles in San Francisco and Austin.
GM’s competitors in the automated driving space have seen similar accidents, including fatal ones, with driver-assist and self-driving technology.
A survey of 30 automotive brands from December found Tesla cars had the worst accident rate in 2023 at 24 accidents per 1,000 drivers, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) started investigating Tesla’s 2023 Model Y last March after drivers reported issues with its steering wheel. An investigation by the Washington Post in December found at least 40 fatal or serious car accidents involving Tesla’s Autopilot technology, its driver assistance software, since 2016.
On Tuesday, the Washington Post released another investigation into a fatal crash involving a Tesla employee in 2022, which is possibly the first known fatality associated with Tesla’s Full Self-Driving technology.



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