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GM’s hands-free Super Cruise driving system now works on Route 66

You’ll soon be able to get your kicks on Route 66 without using your feet … or hands.

General Motors has announced an upcoming update to its feet-and-hands-free Super Cruise highway driving system that will double the amount of roads it can operate on.

The system is an advanced cruise control that is enabled by a database of hyper-accurate 3D maps that were created with the use of lidar scanners mounted to scouting vehicles that drove the actual roads.

Using GPS, cameras and radar, it is capable of self-steering a vehicle in the center of a lane in concert with adaptive cruise control that manages the speed and distance to the vehicle in front of it.

It only works on pre-certified sections of roads and uses facial recognition technology to ensure the driver has their eyes open and facing forward for when the system alerts them that they need to take back control, either because it is exiting an operational zone or encounters an unexpected obstacle.

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The latest version also allows it to check approaching traffic and perform lane changes when the driver hits the turn signal stalk, and to do this automatically when there is a slower car ahead.

When it first launched in 2017 in the Cadillac CT6, it was able to work on 130,000 miles of divided and limited-access highways across North America, with 70,000 more added in 2019. The feature is now available in a variety of GM products including the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, both of which are capable of towing a trailer while it is engaged.

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GM is now adding “hundreds of thousands of additional miles” including a few notable undivided roads. These include large stretches of U.S. Route 66 and CA Route 1.

“We are pursuing what we believe to be the most comprehensive path to autonomy in the industry with responsible deployment of automated driving technology like Super Cruise at the core of what we do,” Super Cruise Mario Maiorana said.

According to General Motors, its customers have traveled over 34 million miles with Super Cruise turned on, and it is unaware of any accidents where its use was a contributing factor.

GM plans to start rolling out a more advanced version of the system called Ultra Cruise with the launch of the Cadillac Celestiq luxury sedan next year that the automaker says will eventually be able to operate on over two million miles of roads and handle 95% of driving scenarios without human input.

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