GM is expanding its hands-free Super Cruise system to 400,000 miles of roads

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GM will soon allow drivers to use Super Cruise on more than 400,000 miles of roads in the U.S. and Canada, doubling access to its hands-free driver assistance system as it pushes to keep apace of its rivals.

Drivers with vehicles equipped with Super Cruise today can only use the system on about 200,000 miles of divided interstates. Notably, this new expansion will loosen those restrictions and give drivers access to Super Cruise on undivided highway roads such as the Pacific Coast Highway, the Trans-Canada Highway and U.S. Route 66.

Super Cruise uses a combination of lidar map data, high-precision GPS, cameras and radar sensors, as well as a driver attention system, which monitors the person behind the wheel to ensure they’re paying attention. When the system is activated, it will accelerate or brake to maintain a selected following distance from a vehicle ahead, steer to keep its lane position and on select models, automatic change lanes to pass slower traffic.

Unlike Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system, users of Super Cruise do not need to have their hands on the wheel. However, their eyes must remain directed straight ahead.

The automaker said Wednesday that an over-the-air software update later this year will expand the network for new vehicles built on its new vehicle intelligence platform (VIP) electrical architecture. The upgrade is free on these models. VIP architected vehicles with available Super Cruise currently include the Cadillac Escalade, CT4 and CT5, the GMC Hummer EV and Sierra, and the Chevrolet Silverado. Super Cruise will soon be available on the 2023 model year Cadillac LYRIQ, GMC Yukon, and Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban.

GM has been slower than rival Tesla in making its advanced driver assistance accessible. Tesla's ADAS that is branded Autopilot comes standard in its four models and works on most roads. GM has restricted access, not just where it can be used, but in what vehicles as well.

When GM launched Super Cruise, it was only available in one Cadillac model — the full-size CT6 sedan — and restricted to divided highways. GM eventually added Super Cruise to other Cadillac models, including the CT4, CT5 and Escalade as well as other brands such as Chevrolet and GMC.

GM is also working on a new, more capable hands-free driving assistance system product called Ultra Cruise that it plans to roll out in 2023 and will be able to handle 95% of all driving scenarios and eventually be used on every paved road in the U.S. and Canada.

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