General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is on the cusp of deploying technology in their automobiles that will allow them to be driven at times either feet-free or hands-free, and to communicate both with other vehicles on the road, as well as road infrastructure (traffic lights, stop lights, etc.). As CNBC’s Phil LeBeau reported this morning, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is planning to have the technology in some of their vehicles by 2016.
“They (GM) plan to have a brand new Cadillac with super cruise control by 2016 that will allow hands-free and foot-free driving, on the highway, by 2016-2017,” LeBeau reported.
The 2017 model-year Cadillac CTS will reportedly be the first General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) vehicle to receive the “semi-auto pilot mode” and “super cruise” capabilities, and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) CEO Mary Barra believes such systems will make driving safer.
However, with General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s recent safety record, there may be some cause for concern over the increasing use of such technologies in their vehicles, which further take driving out of the hands of drivers and put them into the hands of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) themselves.
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) has launched 65 separate recalls this year alone, totaling nearly 30 million affected vehicles. The company also launched a Victim Compensation Program earlier this year with unlimited financial responsibility, in the wake of the glut of recalls and the litigation surrounding them. That program is being run by Kenneth Feinberg, who also ran the compensation fund for 9/11 victims, and as Barra told CNBC, is now being run independently of herself.
“I have talked to Ken at different points as we were going through and establishing the protocol, since we’ve announced the protocol, I have not talked to Ken. He is running a completely independent process and that’s the way we want it. I have utmost respect for Ken and how he is doing the project, but there is a clear separation,” Barra said.
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is far from the only automotive company working on such technology. Carmakers Nissan and Mercedes-Benz, and search engine giant Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) are just a few of the other companies working on various forms of autonomous driving technology.