GM nears driverless car dream

PTI
Washington
First Published: 01:05 IST(27/9/2012)
Last Updated: 01:12 IST(27/9/2012)
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Ever dreamed of riding a car that drives by itself? The fantasy may turn into a reality by 2015.

American auto maker General Motors is in the final stages of developing a semi-autonomous car that can stay in its lane, steer away from danger, apply breaks when needed, completely on its own, nearly eliminating the possibility of an accident.

The company expects the technology to be in cars as early as the 2015 model year.

"The vehicle can take complete control and take you to your destination - in comfort, and safety, and security," Don Butler, vice President of Marketing for Cadillac told the 'ABC News'.

"We can foresee the day when vehicles will be able to completely avoid collisions," he said.

It's been a carmaker's dream since George Jetson, a fictional character from the animated television series, sat in his driverless, flying car. Now, it is just years away.

"I think it's highly likely that before the end of this decade, we'll be in driving modes that will be semi autonomous," Butler said.

"Steering will be controlled by the vehicle. Speed will be controlled by the vehicle. Your direction will be controlled by the vehicle," he added.

The prototype for the new Supercruise feature uses radar, cameras and GPS to drive itself-with a push of a button.

Motorists use the car with no hands on the steering wheel and feet off the pedals, and are essentially able to look away entirely.

The technology is designed to keep the vehicle in its lane and at a safe distance from the car in front of it. The car will also apply the brakes to avoid a collision, even when a car driving 30 miles slower suddenly pulls in front of it.

At anytime the driver can take back control of the vehicle, however, on the highway, supercruise can safely navigate the hazards.

Supercruise is now in its final stages of development, as GM is designing driver-friendly controls.


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