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General Motors, the largest U.S. automaker, will introduce a Cadillac model in two years that can be driven on the highway without the driver holding the steering wheel or putting a foot on a pedal.

The 2017 Cadillac model will feature “Super Cruise” technology that takes control of steering, acceleration and braking at highway speeds of 70 miles per hour or in stop-and-go congested traffic, Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said yesterday in a speech at the Intelligent Transport System World Congress in Detroit. GM declined to release the name of the model that will carry the feature.

Barra also said GM in two years will become the first automaker to equip a model with so-called vehicle-to-vehicle technology that enables the car to communicate with other autos with similar abilities to warn of traffic hazards and improve road safety. GM will make the V2V feature standard on its 2017 Cadillac CTS sedan, debuting in the second half of 2016, she said. The Super Cruise feature will be on a different Cadillac model and goes beyond similar technology available on some Mercedes-Benz models that operates only at low speeds.

“With Super Cruise, when there’s a congestion alert on roads like California’s Santa Monica Freeway, you can let the car take over and drive hands free and feet free through the worst stop-and-go traffic around,” Barra said in the speech at Cobo Center in Detroit. “If the mood strikes you on the high-speed road from Barstow, California, to Las Vegas, you can take a break from the wheel and pedals and let the car do the work. Having it done for you – that’s true luxury.”

The technology will be included in “an all-new Cadillac that’s going to enter a segment where we don’t compete today,” Barra said.

Automakers around the globe are racing to develop self- driving cars to solve the growing problem of global gridlock and help reduce traffic fatalities. There are now more than 1.1 billion vehicles on the road worldwide, Jon Lauckner, GM’s chief technology officer, told reporters in Detroit yesterday. A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study estimated the economic and societal impact of car crashes in the U.S. is more than $870 billion a year, GM said in a statement.

GM’s Super Cruise technology is not a self-driving car and the feature will require drivers to remain alert and ready to take the wheel if traffic conditions become too complex, Lauckner told reporters at a briefing before Barra’s speech.

“We’re rolling out active safety technology today. We’re not going to wait until we have a driverless vehicle that can work in 100 percent of situations,” Lauckner said. “There’s a lot that can be done before we get to the perfect driverless technology.”

Automakers including Hyundai and Honda’s Acura luxury line offer such safety features as automatic braking and cruise control that adapts to the speed of cars ahead. GM said in a statement that its “hands-off” system is a “new type of driving experience.”

GM said it’s also joining with Ford, the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Transportation to create 120 miles of so-called intelligent highways around Detroit. The roads will be equipped with sensors and cameras that enable roads to communicate with cars to alert drivers to hazards and congestion. The technology, to be deployed along stretches of Detroit’s busiest freeways, will monitor vehicle speed and position, though that information will be anonymous and police won’t use it to ticket drivers, Lauckner said.

The Michigan Department of Transportation said it “will be the largest deployment of connected vehicle and highway technology in the world.” MDOT didn’t say when the intelligent highway technology will be deployed. Detroit-based GM won’t be paying for the highway technology, Lauckner said.

GM is working with NHTSA, the federal highway safety regulators, to develop vehicle-to-vehicle communication protocols. NHTSA also is the agency that has overseen GM’s record 29 million vehicle recalls this year, including one for faulty ignition switches in small cars that have been linked to at least 13 deaths.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication enables cars to warn each other of autos hitting the brakes ahead, road hazards, traffic jams and closed roads, GM said. The goal is to make traffic move more smoothly and safely, Barra said.

Barra called on other automakers to put cars on the road that can talk to each other.

“I am asking all of you to accelerate your work in the field as well,” Barra said. “Let’s strive to build cars and trucks that don’t crash. Let’s connect our vehicles.”

Unless another automaker fields a car with V2V technology before GM in two years, the 2017 Cadillac CTS will only be able to communicate with other like models on the road, GM said.

“It’s a chicken-and-egg technology,” John Capp, GM’s director of global safety strategies and vehicle programs, told reporters at the briefing. “If nobody in two years from now puts out a V2V car, then the first CTS off the line will have to wait for the next CTS to talk to.”

Green Wave soars past Athol

  • GHS 38 Garrett Hudsona dn 10 Zach Bartak disrupt pass to Athol 14 Andrew Poor
  • Athol 10 Jerry Parker PF-Gr-102712
  • Athol 10 Jerry Parker 2PF-Gr-102712
  • Athol 10 Jerry Parker yarage pf
  • GHS Zach Bartak defends Athol 32 Jake Lajoie
  • GHS Zach Bartak PF-Gr-102712
  • GHS Zach Bartak

GREENFIELD -- Not much was working on the ground Friday night -- Athol High School’s defense saw to that -- so the aerial show was in session for Greenfield High School.

Zach Bartak threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns, two to Parker Hickey, and the Green Wave’s defense pitched a shutout for three-plus quarters to secure a comfortable 26-8 Intercounty League victory over Athol at Veterans Memorial Field.

Hickey (three catches, 90 yards) and Mike Lively (three catches, 94 yards, TD) were Bartak’s favorite targets. The second Bartak-to-Hickey touchdown connection, a 15-yarder, came with just 34 seconds left until halftime, put Greenfield ahead 20-0 at the break, and kept the unbeaten Green Wave (7-0, 5-0 IL) in control for the final 20 minutes.

“Athol stopped me, they had a good rushing defense,” said Bartak, who finished 9-of-21 passing. “I had to get the passes off quick and it worked out pretty good. We were scrambling, we couldn’t get anything done -- I had to get the ball to my receivers and trust them.”

Including two kneeldowns to finish the game, Greenfield ended with 18 rushing yards in 19 attempts. Bartak, who entered Friday with 872 yards on the ground, added 16 to that total.

“It’s impossible to take away both things. We needed some bounces to go our way,” said Red Raiders coach Matt Gauvin. “We focused this week on stopping the running game, where (Bartak) has beaten up a lot of teams. We were successful, but the kid threw some great balls, and you can’t do anything about it. We can’t worry about bad breaks, and giving up 70 points in two weeks isn’t about bad breaks.”

Athol (5-3, 3-2 IL) fell into fourth place in the IL standings, coming off its 45-6 loss to Turners Falls High School last weekend.

Greenfield got throwing on its second play from scrimmage, with Bartak hitting Lively for a 40-yard gain to the Athol 28. Four plays later, facing fourth-and-7 at the 25, Bartak lofted a pass to the back of the end zone and Hickey, running along the back line, reached down to his shoetops to haul in the football for six points. The Wave missed the two-point conversion try but led 6-0 with 5:31 left in the first.

The Red Raiders punted on each of their six first-half possessions, managing only three first downs.

Starting from its own 17 midway through the second, the Wave immediately flipped the field on a 69-yard completion from Bartak to Lew Borden to put the ball at the Athol 14. After a 1-yard loss and an illegal-procedure call moved the ball back to the Raider 20, Bartak zinged a 19-yard pass to Lively to set up first-and-goal at the 1. Bartak plunged in on the next play, then threw the 2-pointer to Garrett Hudson to make it 14-0 with 2:36 remaining.

The Wave held for a three-and-out and Bartak’s 23-yard punt return got Greenfield started at the Athol 40. After a pass-interference call and a personal foul against the Red Raiders, Greenfield had second down at the 15. Bartak hit Hickey down the right seam for the TD with just 34 seconds to go, allowing the hosts to take a three-score lead to the locker room.

Even when Bartak didn’t find his primary receiver, the results seemed to work out just fine for the Wave. With time winding down in the third quarter and Greenfield looking at second-and-5 from the Athol 35, Bartak underthrew Borden and looked to have been picked off by the Red Raiders’ Andrew Poor. But the ball ricocheted between Poor and Greenfield’s Lively, who secured the football and took off for the left pylon, completing the 35-yard scoring play for a 26-0 Greenfield lead with 19 seconds to play in the third.

Athol followed up with its only scoring drive of the night, helped along by a 30-yard pass play from Jerry Parker to Jake Lajoie. Parker went the final 14 yards on a dive play with 6:59 remaining, then threw the two-pointer to Lajoie to make it 26-8.

Parker wound up 5-of-15 passing for 94 yards and ran for 68 yards on 17 carries. Matt Summers added 39 yards on the ground for the Red Raiders, who totaled 206 yards on offense.

“They had a great scheme against us, and we were fortunate enough to get 26 points,” said Green Wave coach Mike Kuchieski. “We made some great plays, some big plays, and I tell our guys that big plays are gonna win football games. When they came out man-to-man, we knew it would be seven, eight men in the box. We made some great throws and some great catches.”

Greenfield, which remained tied with Belchertown High School for first place in the IL, travels to Frontier Regional School Friday at 7 p.m. Athol hosts Belchertown Friday at 7, before Belchertown comes to Greenfield on Nov. 9.

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