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Are self-driving cars closer than we think?

A GPS driving sensor antennae sits on the back of a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S electric automobile at the Robert Bosch GmbH driverless technology press event in Boxberg, Germany, on Tuesday, May 19, 2015.
Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A GPS driving sensor antennae sits on the back of a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S electric automobile at the Robert Bosch GmbH driverless technology press event in Boxberg, Germany, on Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

There's been a lot of talk surrounding self-driving cars but former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, told CNBC a completely autonomous model is five to six years away.

"What's much closer is what I call 'super cruise,'" Lutz said on Wednesday's "Power Lunch." "On the freeway you can hit the super cruise button and the car will steer and drive and brake and accelerate and slow down etc. automatically." This technology is made possible by lane departure inputs and electric power steering.


Cars with this feature will be available as early as next year from high-end brands like Cadillac and "possibly" others, according to Lutz. Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that his company would be unveiling related software on Thursday.

However, the super cruise option is not necessarily good for driving through local roads with many stoplights and which still require human supervision.

The next step, Lutz said is a car that "comes to your house, picks you up ... and then [takes you] wherever you're going to go to your final destination, and then goes away and parks itself."

Lutz added, "There's really no reason why these cars can't be on the market in five years at the latest."

He also said that insurers and lawmakers will have to accept the changing tides as autonomous technology slowly creeps into the auto sector.

"They're just going to have to deal with it and they will because the self-driving car is inevitable," he said.

And in terms of accidents, Lutz said self-driving cars have a better safety record than human drivers so he sees no reason why insurers would be reluctant to jump on board.

"Now, will there be accidents? Sure." he said. "But it'll probably be 10 percent of what we have today."