Cadillac will begin offering its new semi-autonomous “Super Cruise” driving feature on the 2018 Cadillac CT6 that is being released this fall, bringing “hands free” highway driving along the lines of Tesla’s Autopilot to those who drive Cadillacs.
To be more specific here, the new “Super Cruise” feature will utilize a suite of cameras and radar sensors in conjunction with precision LiDAR map data and a driver attention system to allow people traveling on divided, limited-access highways (those with defined on and off ramps) to give complete control over to the computer system … so long as they maintain reasonable attention to the road ahead (as monitored by the driver attention system).
Cadillac claims that, in addition to reducing driver fatigue, this allows drivers to perform important tasks such as navigation, taking phone calls, etc., more safely.
The press release explains that last bit concerning the driver attention system: “The driver attention system uses a small camera located on the top of the steering column that focuses exclusively on the driver and works with infrared lights to track head position to determine where the driver is looking whenever Super Cruise is in operation.”
“If the system detects the driver has turned attention away from the road ahead for too long, it will prompt the driver to return their attention to the road ahead. If the driver does not immediately refocus on the road, Super Cruise will continue to safely steer until a further escalation of alerts prompts the driver to resume supervision.
“If the system determines continued inattentiveness, a steering wheel light bar guides the driver to look at the road or take back control of the wheel. Additional alerts can include visual indicators in the instrument cluster, tactile alerts in Cadillac’s Safety Alert Seat and audible alerts, if necessary. In the limited event of an unresponsive driver, the Cadillac CT6 utilizes the full capability of onboard driver assistance technologies to bring the car to a controlled stop and contact OnStar to alert first responders, if necessary.”
That’s probably not to everyone’s tastes, but it’s perhaps necessary. Still, Super Cruise sounds like a pretty compelling system, and one that will be hitting the market right around the same time as Nissan’s ProPilot technology, which will reportedly allow for fully autonomous single-lane highway travel.
Cadillac’s Super Cruise tech will be available as an option on the 2018 Cadillac CT6 prestige sedan in the US and Canada beginning this autumn.