DETROIT – General Motors is in the process of taking automotive technology to the next level and isn't' giving itself a lot of time to do it.
The automaker said it will have cars that can talk to each other and almost drive themselves at freeway speeds in just two years.
The semi-autonomous system for freeways will be an option on an unidentified new 2017 Cadillac that goes on sale in the summer of 2016. In addition, another 2017 Cadillac, the CTS, will be equipped with radio transmitters and receivers that will let it communicate with other cars, sharing data such as location, speed and whether the driver is applying the brakes.
GM Product Development Chief Mark Reuss said the automaker looked for help in all kinds of places.
"We went to the Navy, we went to the nuclear part of the Navy," he said.
The technology can be marveled at, what about hackers?
"As we put semi-autonomous and autonomous systems into vehicles, we have to be able to look at this as a very, very critical systems level and do it defect-free for the customer," Reuss said. Auto analyst David Cole said GM is entering a whole new level of technical sophistication.
"There's a risk when you're communicating with the outside world. It's a huge issue for the military. It's a huge issue in all aspects of our society today," Cole said. "The one thing you have to do inside the auto industry is make the technology as bullet-proof as possible."
GM has hired a new cyber security officer to tackle the potential problem. It's a far cry from the company's ignition switch troubles, yet the hire was made with that disaster in mind. It can't happen again and there's no room for error.
What do you think about the safety and security of these so-called "smart cars" sharing the road with you very soon?