DETROIT (WWJ) – General Motors has started selling its “Super Cruise” system — which allows hands-free driving on limited access roads.

Super Cruise, which monitors drivers eyes to make sure they are on the road, is claimed to be the first hands free driving system — and is seen as one of the building blocks to the automated vehicles of the future.

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The system, which operates only on limited-access freeways, keeps the car centered in its lane and a safe distance from vehicles in front of it, relying on cameras and radar sensors and high-tech maps to guide the car.

WWJ Auto Beat Reporter Jeff Gilbert was invited to spend some time behind the wheel of a Cadillac CT6, which is the first consumer vehicle to be sold with the technology.

“We’re cruising down the Lodge Freeway, my hands are off the wheel, we’re near the Davison Freeway intersection and the car is turning itself,” said Gilbert. “You heard me gasp a little bit because I’m not entirely comfortable with this but I certainly see the potential for this. And certainly here on the Lodge Freeway, this super cruise system is doing a very good job on a road that tends to curve a little bit more than most limited access roads.”

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With Super Cruise, drivers don’t have to keep their hands on the steering wheel, but the system will monitor their facial features to make sure they are paying attention to the road and a ready to take over driving in an emergency. Drivers who don’t pay attention will get several warnings including a flashing light bar on the steering wheel, seat vibrations and audible alerts. If they don’t respond, the car emergency flashers will turn on, it will slow to a stop and contact GM’s OnStar safety system.

“I’m looking at a green light on the steering wheel which will inform me if I start to look away, because the system is looking back at me,” said Gilbert. “I’ve got to say, the system is operating very smoothly.”

Super Cruise comes standard on the CT6 Platinum model, which starts at just over $85,000, and is part of a $5,000 safety package on the Premium Luxury model, which starts at $66,290. GM hopes to roll the system out to other models in the future.

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