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Cars that can talk to each other 2 years away from showroom

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Cars that can talk to each other and almost drive themselves at freeway speeds are just two years away from the showroom, according to General Motors executives.

The company announced that the semi-autonomous system for freeways will be an option on an unidentified new 2017 Cadillac that goes on sale in the summer of 2016. In addition, another 2017 Cadillac, the CTS, will be equipped with radio transmitters and receivers that will let it communicate with other cars, sharing data such as location, speed and whether the driver is applying the brakes.

The announcements were made on Sunday at the opening of the Intelligent Transportation Society World Congress being held in Detroit this week.

The freeway system, dubbed “Super Cruise,” uses cameras and radar to keep the car in the centre of a lane and also stay a safe distance behind cars in front of it. The system will bring the car to a complete stop if traffic halts without driver action, and it can keep the car going in stop-and-go traffic.

Other automakers, such as Mercedes-Benz, now offer similar systems that work at low speeds, but GM says it’s the first to announce a system that operates at highway speeds. Others could have freeway systems in two years, though.

“If the mood strikes you on the high-speed road from Barstow, California, to Las Vegas, you can take a break from the wheel and pedals and let the car do the work,” CEO Mary Barra said.

But GM said the car still won’t drive itself, and the company is working on a system to monitor drivers to make sure they’re still paying attention. Details of that system weren’t released.

Although GM and others are taking steps toward self-driving cars, Jon Lauckner, the company’s chief technology officer, said such cars are years away because technology, legal and regulatory hurdles remain.

“At some point in time maybe there’s a driverless car,” he said. “But that point in time is into the future a good distance.”


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