GMC Sierra Super Cruise 2022 Gets Automated Overtaking and No Hands Towing

General Motors launched a hands-free driving assistance system in late 2017 with its Cadillac CT6. The feature was only available on the Cadillac CT6 sedan, which was discontinued in 2020. This is changing quickly as the Cadillac Escalade CT-4 CT-5 CT-5, and Chevrolet Bolt EUV offer Super Cruise. They are all part of a plan that will offer Super Cruise on 20 more models over the next two-years. The refreshed 2022 GM__S.6__
The arrival of the C Sierra pickup will elevate this system to new heights.

The launch date of the new Sierra may vary depending on when it launches. However, you can expect the Sierra to debut in the first quarter 2022. It won’t likely be the first pickup truck with an automated partially hands-free driving system. Over-the-air software updates are expected for the Ford F-150 to enable BlueCruise. This update is likely to be available sometime in this summer. The GMC truck, however, will offer some key capabilities that will be unavailable to the F-150 at launch.

The major 2022 model-year upgrade will see the Sierra and the Chevrolet Silverado switch to a more advanced electrical and electronic architecture, which GM calls Vehicle Intelligent Platform (VIP). VIP offers a wide range of upgrades, including faster networking and more computing capabilities. It also supports over-the-air software upgrades for all the vehicles.

Incorporating the VIP into the CT-4 and CT-5 Corvettes, Corvettes, as well as GM’s new full-size SUVs, is already possible. While the Cadillacs offer the new-generation Super Cruise technology, the Bolt EUV uses an older E/E version. A refreshed 2022 Silverado with the same Super Cruise function will be available at the same time, and it will debut around the same date as the new Sierra. The 2021 Escalade, along with the Silverado and Sierra updates, will launch around the same time. CT-4 and CT-5 will also get automatic lane changes (they do not support towing). GMC Hummer Electric EV will receive the ability to change lanes automatically at launch, and later updates for towing. Cadillac XT6 2022 will continue to use the non-VIP architecture, so it will still have the original features as the CT-6 or Bolt EUV.

The second-gen Super Cruise has many features that BlueCruise won’t have when it becomes available. These include lane change on-demand and a wider network of roads that it can use (more than 200,000 in North America, versus about half the for BlueCruise). Super Cruise automatically performs lane changes on demand when the driver taps on the turn signal stalk. The sensors then determine that everything is okay.

GM invited journalists and analysts to visit its Milford Proving Ground and test drive 2022 Sierra models and the most recent upgrades to Super Cruise. Super Cruise, which will be available as a standalone vehicle and able to operate in tandem with a trailer or change lanes automatically starting with Sierra’s launch, adds the ability for drivers to overtake without the need to intervene.

Hummer is also the first vehicle to be launched with GM’s Android Automotive-powered infotainment system, which includes Google Maps. It will display route options and which roads can be used for Super Cruise when you use Google Maps as your navigation system. GMC covered the truck interiors so that we could not see the screens during our Milford visit. This may indicate that new pickups will have the same functionality. To find out, we’ll need to wait for the next year.

Autonomous overtaking

Super Cruise doesn’t offer overtaking automatically like Tesla.__S.39__
This capability was added to the enhanced autopilot in 2019 Tesla added this capability to enhanced autopilot back in 2019. Super Cruise is the first to fully enable automatic lane changes with no driver interaction, and it will also allow for continuous road monitoring.

Starting with the Sierra, Super Cruise offers three choices for lane change. Drivers can choose to have lane changes automatically made, or on-demand. This last option is almost identical to the functionality of the Bolt EUV and the CT-6. The Escalade’s first lane-change on demand system was introduced. When the driver taps on either the turn signal stalk or the turn signal, the system will perform a lane shift.

If automatic lane changes have been enabled, when the Super Cruise-equipped vehicle approaches a vehicle that is moving at less than the set speed, the sensors look towards the left lane to see if the vehicle is clear. Then, they will give an audible signal for the driver. Super Cruise will execute the lane change, unless the driver taps on the turn signal stalk. Super Cruise will return the original lane once it is clear of any slower vehicles. Super Cruise will pass in the correct lane by following GM’s engineers. It passes on the left, then exits that lane. However, if Super Cruise is faced with a blockage or obstruction to the left lane and is free of traffic on the right, Super Cruise can move on the right.

Automatic lane changes also allow for exiting from a lane which is about to end. GM continues to use Ushr’s high-definition highway maps. This allows the system to see ahead for changes in lane configurations, and make any necessary adjustments. Super Cruise uses maps to determine the speed required when coming up on curves.

During the short test drive around the 4.5-mile circle track of the GM proving grounds, lane changes went smoothly as we leapfrogged with other test vehicles. To see how it handles traffic, we’ll need to wait for early 2022. It did however detect vehicles within adjacent lanes with a combination corner radar sensors and cameras in its 2021 Escalade and didn’t attempt to cross in any situation it shouldn’t.

Connecting the trailer

Towing is a major reason why customers choose full-size pickup trucks. With an OTA update, the Sierra and Escalade will be officially capable of towing while hands-free. When a trailer is detected, Teslas switch automatically to tow mode. This disables the autopilot. Tesla is not doing enough to stop misuse. Drivers can disengage from tow mode to use the autopilot feature with trailers.

The system automatically adjusts its control parameters when a trailer connects to an SUV or truck equipped with Super Cruise. To estimate the trailer’s weight, we compare actual vehicle acceleration with deceleration and engine braking. It is possible to calculate the extra weight or payload if the acceleration is lower than the expected amount for an engine torque. Similar applies to braking. Additional adjustments can be made by using accelerometers or other sensors that detect climbing and/or descending of a grade.

Super Cruise adjusts the distances it follows and when it applies brakes, to account for a trailer and heavy load in the bed. It will adjust the vehicle’s position within the lane when going around curves to account for trailers and other vehicle dynamics.

The automatic lane-changing feature won’t work when towing trailers. Super Cruise relies in part on rear corner radar sensors for determining lane clarity. The trailer is in line with the radar, and the software cannot reliably tell if enough room exists to change lanes safely.

But that may change. The updated Sierra will include a new camera system, blindspot monitoring and a variety of other features that are not Super Cruise. The vehicle can accommodate multiple trailer profiles. The center display shows the view from the underside mirror mounted camera when the turn signal activates while the trailer is attached to the truck. The driver will see the shadow of the trailer, which is twice as long as the lane adjacent to it. This allows him/her to check if there are any cars in the vicinity before switching lanes. This may be a problem given GM’s promise to roll out Super Cruise safely. It relies on the driver setting the profile of the trailer properly, which is something beyond GM’s reach.

Super Cruise can tow in the lane even without automatic lane change. This is a much more practical use than regular driving. Although Super Cruise is hands-free, the driver may find it reduces their workload. However, Super Cruise also introduces cognitive load as the driver must supervise the system and be less involved with the driving task. Although there may not be a direct benefit, GM’s driver monitoring system with an infrared camera by GM is better than Tesla’s.

Towing heavy trailers like the prototype Sierra’s 5,000-lb model requires more care in steering, brake and acceleration. Super Cruise, which automatically calculates the trailer’s weight and adjusts for these inputs, could offer greater safety benefits. It performed very well and responded quickly to adjustments in speed. This system might be more encouraging for people who tow frequently.

Blue Cruise on the F-150 will compete directly with the Sierra with Super Cruise. It is likely to release several months earlier. It will not have lane changing capabilities and can be towable. These features will likely be available later on, although the exact timeline remains unknown.

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