Report: GM intends to offer semi-autonomous vehicles by 2020

Filed under: Safety, Technology, Crossover, Cadillac, GM, Luxury

2013 Cadillac SRX

Prepare for a few years of technological saber-rattling, as the world’s automakers begin pushing to bring self-driving cars to market. Earlier this week, Nissan announced that it aims to offer autonomous vehicles by 2020, while Google, BMW and several other marks are working on similar efforts.

General Motors is doing things differently, though. Rather than push for a fully autonomous car, it’s continuing to refine its semi-autonomous Super Cruise, a product that we tested in April 2012 and that will eventually see use on some Cadillacs before trickling down to the rest of the General Motors family. Super Cruise, which is undergoing testing in the Cadillac SRX, doesn’t take complete control out of the driver’s hands. Rather, under a very specific set of circumstances on the freeway, it will marry the capabilities of things like lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control to allow the driver to take their hands off the wheel. All of which sounds a lot like the system Mercedes-Benz is launching on the 2014 S-Class.

The system is still in development, according to John Capp, GM’s director of electrical controls and active safety technology. Now that that the biggest hurdle, steering control, has been cleared, GM’s engineers can focus on things like teaching the system to adapt to differing road conditions and visibility levels. As we reported in 2012, Super Cruise is still befuddled in low-visibility situations or when road markings aren’t particularly clear.

And for those who are worried that semi-autonomous cars will lead to drivers treating the cars as fully autonomous (a seriously dangerous situation), GM engineer Charles Green tells USA Today, “Super Cruise will be designed in a way to help keep your visual attention on the road ahead. The ‘how’ is something that will become more apparent as we show Super Cruise in its later versions.”

GM intends to offer semi-autonomous vehicles by 2020 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Aug 2013 15:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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A Semi-Authorized Guide to BMW Innovation

Filed under: Hybrid, Performance, Technology, BMW, Electric, Diesel, Luxury

Automakers are always hot to tout their latest advancements, and BMW is no different. This past week in Munich, the automaker hosted Autoblog at its 2011 Innovation Day to give us a glimpse into what BMW’s boffins are up to and what drivetrains, components and technologies it’s planning to bring to market. BMW continues to champion its Efficient Dynamics mantra, comprised of lightweight materials, hybrid and turbocharged drivetrains and a new modular engine platform that takes the tried-and-true cylinder expansion idea to its logical extreme. So what did we learn? Plenty. And some of it wasn’t exactly authorized.

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Gallery: 2011 BMW Innovation Days

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A Semi-Authorized Guide to BMW Innovation originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Apr 2011 14:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Recreating Ken Block’s Gymkhana… in a Gulf-livery semi truck

Filed under: Motorsports, Truck, Videos, Work, Racing

Mike Ryan drifting semi

Mike Ryan’s drifting Freightliner – Click above to view watch the video after the jump

Mike Ryan has won a dozen Pikes Peak Hill Climbs in his Gulf-liveried Freightliner Cascadia, so it’s no joke when we say this man has some serious talent. To raise his and the truck’s profile a little bit, Ryan has decided to show off what he does when he’s not storming mountains to stay sharp.

Aping Ken Block’s Gymkhana series, Ryan haunts abandoned airstrips, looking for cones, old hangars and dirt roads on which to slide his truck around. In fact, Ryan has gone so far as to shoot this video at El Toro, the same Marine air base where Block filmed the first installment of his epic videos. Ryan’s Freightliner packs 1,950 horsepower and more than 3,400 pound-feet of torque, so roasting the truck’s handmade custom Michelin tires isn’t a problem, even in a 10,000-pound Big Daddy Freightliner. Check out all the action in HD splendor after the jump. Top tip, Jason!

Gallery: Mike Ryan’s Freightliner Cascadia Pikes Peak Special

Mike Ryan's Freightliner Cascadia Pikes Peak SpecialMike Ryan's Freightliner Cascadia Pikes Peak SpecialMike Ryan's Freightliner Cascadia Pikes Peak SpecialMike Ryan's Freightliner Cascadia Pikes Peak SpecialMike Ryan's Freightliner Cascadia Pikes Peak Special

Photos copyright (C)2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading Video: Recreating Ken Block’s Gymkhana… in a Gulf-livery semi truck

Video: Recreating Ken Block’s Gymkhana… in a Gulf-livery semi truck originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 01 Apr 2011 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Band of horses rescue stuck semi tanker

Filed under: Etc., Videos

Real live horsepower rescues stuck semi truckl

Click above to watch the video after the jump

After thousands of years serving as the transportation of choice, the horse was unceremoniously replaced by the automobile. The fact is, cars don’t need food, water or shelter, and thanks to the automobile, a trip that used to take three days can now happen over the course of a couple hours. So the car wins, for ever and ever, right? Tell that to the driver of a massive tanker truck that slid off the road during what looks like a terrific snow storm.

Hit the jump to watch what could be an Amish man and his pack of powerful Clydesdales pull a shining example of modern machinery out of the ditch. If you click through quickly we’ll refrain from boring you with a plethora of lame “horsepower” puns or quips about 16-leg-drive beating all-wheel-drive any day of the week. Don’t make us count to three. Still here? Fine: turns out all the horse power you really need can be counted on just one hand.

[Source: YouTube]

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Video: Band of horses rescue stuck semi tanker originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 04 Mar 2011 18:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Semi Truck + Overpass = Snowpocalypse on the Interstate

Filed under: Safety, Videos

truck overpass snow explosion

Click above to watch the video after the jump

Anybody who’s seen the security cam footage of the Minneapolis Metrodome roof collapse knows how powerful snow can be. It was amazing footage, something that rarely gets captured on camera. But in the age of the mobile phone camera, amazing videos are becoming less rare, as this video clearly illustrates.

The driver-turned amateur videographer was cruising down the road when a semi truck saddled with several cubic yards of snow atop the cargo box caught his or her eye. In spite of the inherent danger of driving while videotaping, the motorist couldn’t resist snagging some footage of the oddly tall snow snack. Lucky for us that moment was precisely when an overpass morphed a bad idea (distracted driving sucks) into some amazing footage. As you can see from the screen cap above, the overpass won the battle, but the exploding snow makes the video worth watching. Hit the jump to see for yourself.

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading Video: Semi Truck + Overpass = Snowpocalypse on the Interstate

Video: Semi Truck + Overpass = Snowpocalypse on the Interstate originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 09 Feb 2011 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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