General Motors unveiled its semi-autonomous "Super Cruise" system to allow drivers on highways to let the vehicle take over driving itself. In case if the road has too many twists and turns or the vehicle detects the driver is not paying attention, it issues a series of alerts. If the human driver does not take over, the vehicle will automatically slow down and then put on the hazard lights. GM, which initially planned to unveil the technology on the CT6 in late 2016, said in January it would not unveil Super Cruise until 2017.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a letter to GM that it was permissible for the automaker to automatically activate hazard lights if a driver fails to respond to alerts by a self-driving vehicle that has brought itself to a stop, but it raised concerns that the system is safe. In March, GM asked NHTSA to confirm it was appropriate for the vehicle to activate the hazard lights if it was brought to a stop. NHTSA said in its letter it urged GM to "ensure that this fallback solution does not pose an unreasonable risk to safety." GM's monitoring system has facial recognition software that can detect if a driver is falling asleep or not paying attention. If so, the system issues alerts: a red visual display telling a driver to take control followed by a seat vibration and then a recorded audio message. If General Motors ignore all those, GM's OnStar system will communicate with the driver.
GM confirmed details of the Super Cruise system outlined by NHTSA. Concerns about vehicles that drive themselves for limited periods were raised after the May 7 death of Ohio technology company owner Joshua Brown in a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S while the car's semi-automated Autopilot system was engaged. NHTSA is still investigating that crash. Similar systems due on the market in coming years include Traffic Jam Pilot from Volkswagen AG's Audi unit in 2018. In September, Tesla updated its semi-autonomous driving system Autopilot with new limits on hands-off driving and other improvements that likely would have prevented a fatality in May.