Many believe that the roads of the distant future will be populated by autonomous vehicles driven by A.I. cars while the humans read, nap, or nearly any other thing you might find someone doing on public transit. Whether this comes to pass or not, the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500, as well as many other automakers, are gunning for this hands-free, mind-free driving. However, the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Super Cruise is the first that has set its sights on autonomous towing and other work-related driving.
The 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Super Cruise mode can tow
Some MotorTrend folks got a chance to get some seat time in the unreleased, still camouflaged 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali with a 5,000-lb box trailer in tow. MotorTrend wasn’t allowed to drive the 2022 Sierra on public roads for multiple safety and confidentiality reasons. Instead, they lapped GM’s five-mile test loop.
With Tesla stepping further into the murky waters of “self-driving” cars, a major aspect of motoring has gone largely unnoticed; towing.
What is GM’s Super Cruise?
GM’s Super Cruise is a newish “hands-off” driving mode that uses a myriad of cameras and sensors to allow the truck to use a much more advanced version of cruise control. Unlike Tesla, GM understands that naming this feature something that promises more than just that would be reckless and irresponsible.
Super Cruise can now detect when a trailer is hooked up by sensing the electrical connection for the trailer lighting and brakes and also by sensing the trailer’s presence via the short-range radar units that otherwise monitor the truck’s blind spots in the back.
This computer system can even compute the rough gross weight of the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 and the trailer by comparing the throttle position with the truck’s acceleration while also gauging any potential grade the rig may be climbing up or down. All of this data is collected in what must be mere moments to calculate braking distances, acceleration, and turning.
Super Cruise can now account for towing but some features will be disabled
Super Cruise will normally sense when a car ahead is traveling slower than the GMC Sierra and use the sensors to check the blind spot; if the coast is clear, it will signal and change lanes to maintain the set speed. However, with a trailer in tow, the blind spot sensors are blocked by the trailer, and the automatic lane change feature is disabled.
But, wait! That’s not all
Super Cruise towing isn’t the only towing tech that GM bestowed upon the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali. One of these new features is an optional 15-camera view of the truck and whatever it’s towing.
However, the coolest new towing feature for the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 is the Transparent Trailer view, which BLends a remarkably contiguous view “through” the trailer, as stitched together from the camera you mount to the trailer, the tailgate camera, and the cameras on the side-view mirrors.
This video game-esq feature is one of the trippiest and most useful of all modern towing features. This will eliminate many of the dangers of towing, both for the one towing and other drivers.
Obviously, towing a big enclosed trailer greatly obscured a driver’s vision for lane changing and making hard turns. This will allow drivers to see what’s beside and behind them while towing. This will also greatly help the embarrassing moments for a novice driver when backing a trailer. A great field of vision should make the high-pressure maneuvers a little easier.
Lastly, the cameras can also predict where the trailer will go based on the position of the wheels. Again, GM is looking out for those of us who struggle to back a trailer. Hell, even if you’re a pro, this feature seems like a welcomed addition. It looks like towing a trailer is getting much easier.