Barra: GM among leaders in self-driving technology

The executive suggests GM\'s Super Cruise tech involves a \'creative way\' to keep drivers alert and attentive.

General Motors chief executive Mary Barra promises her company is "among the leaders" in pursuing autonomous technology.

In a lengthy interview with USA Today, Barra admits that many companies "can claim leads" because advancements are being made in a wide range of areas related to self-driving vehicles.

GM's 'Super Cruise' system, essentially a semi-autonomous technology for highway driving, will be available next year on the 2017 Cadillac CT6. It will take over steering, throttle and braking controls when cruising long distances on controlled-access roadways, however drivers will still be required to remain attentive.

"On highways you'll be able to take your hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals -- with a very creative way to make sure the driver (stays) alert and involved in the driving process," Barra said.

Automakers have made wide-ranging claims regarding their progress developing autonomous and semi-autonomous, though most are expected to have similar highway self-driving capabilities ready by the end of the decade.

"We do have a lot of efforts that are confidential that we're working on in all aspects of autonomous," Barra added.

The executive suggests it would be 'foolish' to dismiss Apple as a viable competitor as the industry races toward a mass-market electric vehicle. GM believes it must use the shift to demonstrate its 'technical capabilities,' offering a proposition that brings "affordable electrification that starts to eliminate range anxiety in a beautiful package."

The company is preparing the Chevrolet Bolt as its answer to the Tesla Model 3 and similar products from established rivals, though a specific production window has not been officially confirmed.

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