DETROIT – General Motors Chief Technology Officer Jon Lauckner says the automaker will install vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology on the ’17 Cadillac CTS and add autonomous-driving technology to a second unnamed car from the brand in the same timeframe.

“We intend to be leaders” in the intelligent transportation space, says Lauckner, who also leads GM’s global R&D. He speaks with journalists today ahead of a formal announcement on the topic from CEO Mary Barra.

V2V communication will allow vehicles to talk to each other, sharing items such as speed and position to enhance safety, reduce traffic congestion and lower carbon-dioxide emissions.

Unless other automakers also add the technology, GM admits, the CTS will only talk to other CTS models.

However, NHTSA recently announced plans to begin rulemaking on the topic, which would require installation of the feature on all new vehicles beginning in 2020. The safety watchdog estimates the earliest V2V technology could prevent as many as 592,000 crashes and save 1,083 lives annually.

“It’s a bit of the chicken and the egg, (but) we’re going to hopefully start the ball rolling,” says John Capp, director-electrical and controls systems research at GM.

The automaker will make V2V standard equipment on the CTS. The CTS also will be capable of communicating with transportation infrastructure, such as intersections and stoplights, a technology called vehicle-to-infrastructure.

Capp admits owners will see very few messages and alerts from the system in the early days of ownership but communication will increase as the technology rolls out across the industry.

The autonomous-driving feature, which GM calls Super Cruise, will permit hands-off lane following, braking and speed control in certain highway conditions. GM says the intent is to increase the comfort of an attentive driver in both bumper-to-bumper traffic and long trips.

Lauckner does not identify the Cadillac model that will offer Super Cruise as optional equipment, but says it will appear on a vehicle in a segment the brand does not presently compete.

The executives do not talk pricing for Super Cruise or how much V2V might raise the cost of a vehicle. They do say both are expensive technologies.

Super Cruise would be offered as part of a technology package. Current option packages including advanced safety items such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping alerts cost between $2,500 and $3,000.

In a speech today opening a week-long Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress, Barra says V2V and Super Cruise contain authentic market and societal benefits.

“I’m convinced customers will embrace V2V and automated driving technologies for one simple reason: they are the answer to everyday problems that people want solved,” she says in remarks provided ahead of her speech.

“Starting the conversation with Cadillac will help us establish the science and engineering with luxury customers, who are incredibly influential. But that’s just the beginning.

“The sooner the industry puts a critical mass of V2V-equipped vehicles on the road, the more accident we’ll prevent…and the more society – and individual drivers – will benefit,” Barra says.

Barra also reveals a new partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation and the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center and other automakers to create V2I-enabled corridors on 120 miles of Detroit-area freeways.

jamend@wardsauto.com