For a long while, General Motors sold two full-size trucks in the same market segment that (until the current generation) looked almost exactly alike, using most of the exact same tech. Differentiating points you might hear to distinguish between the GMC Sierra and the Chevrolet Silverado include phrases like, “It’s the better(ish) looking one!” and “you guys like Denali, right?” Thankfully, late in the 2022 model year, we’ll be able to add, “it’s the one with Super Cruise” to the GMC’s repertoire—if only on the Sierra 1500 Denali, to start.
Super Cruise is the name for GM’s highly-acclaimed semi-autonomous driving technology that we first sampled on Cadillac’s now-deceased CT6 sedan. It uses a symphony of sensors, cameras, and pre-loaded LiDAR map data to offer, at least temporarily, the chance for the driver to take their hands off the wheel. Lest you think this is some set-it-and-forget-it mode, there’s a driver-facing camera and infrared sensors watching to make sure you don’t nod off or climb into the back seat to locate a dropped M&M.
Earlier this year, Cadillac announced an enhanced Super Cruise that adds on-demand lane-change functionality, provided that the computers deem it safe to do-so.
GMC says that its customers view Denali as the one-stop shop for all the ritziest tech that GM has to offer, so we’re not surprised to see Super Cruise get the nod here. More interesting is that GMC mentions the ability to trailer while driving hands-free. The GMC Sierra (and its Silverado sibling) employ some of the most sophisticated trailering tech available—tricks like a transparent trailer view that all but removes the trailer from the rear camera system. (We’ve reached out to GMC, inquiring how one sophisticated system charged with managing so many variables will play ball with another highly complex system monitoring a very different set of variables.)
It goes without saying that pickup trucks are a money factory for GM. Given that the all-new Cadillac Escalade will offer Super Cruise from the get-go, we knew that this tech was ready—or at least a touch shy from ready—for vehicles of that size. This is both a logical next step for Super Cruise and a welcome differentiator to help the Sierra march further upmarket.