While Tesla has been planning to perform a cross-country, hands-free demonstration of its Autopilot tech in 2017 for some time now, it appears that GM/Cadillac has actually beaten the company to the punch … well, sort of.
Cadillac has begun a Super Cruise demonstration that will see 12 CT6 cars travel from New York City to Los Angeles, but as you may recall, Cadillac’s Super Cruise tech only allows for autonomous travel on highways. Tesla, on the other hand, is claiming that it’s Autopilot demonstration will be a fully autonomous, parking-spot-to-parking-spot, cross-country trip.
So, it’s not quite comparable. Though, Tesla’s promised demonstration has yet to begin as far as we know, and Cadillac’s is now ongoing, so there’s not much reason to discuss Tesla’s better-in-theory trip more at this point.
“Cadillac is setting new industry standards with ground-breaking driver assistance technologies like Super Cruise, the world’s first true hands-free driving system for the freeway,” stated Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen. “We are excited to bring Super Cruise, a true testament to Cadillac’s innovative spirit and technical capability, on its first-ever hands-free drive on freeways from coast to coast.”
The press release provides more: “A select group of key stakeholders and media will put the power of Super Cruise technology to the test in twelve Super Cruise-equipped Cadillac CT6 vehicles, which departed this morning from Cadillac House in New York City and will travel to Los Angeles, California. Crossing through 16 states, plus the District of Columbia, in Super Cruise-equipped Cadillac CT6 vehicles, the drive program will make stops in major cities across the US including: Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Memphis, Tennessee; Dallas, Texas; Santa Fe, New Mexico and Phoenix, Arizona. Super Cruise is Cadillac’s innovative driver assistance feature, which enables hands-free, driver-assisted operation on 130,000 miles of limited access, divided freeways in the US.”
With 12 vehicles involved, and some being driven by members of the media, this should make for a pretty interesting PR exercise. I’m very curious to see how the system is received by those in the mainstream media.
The press release continues: “The multi-state, cross-country drive marks the first time that Super Cruise technology will be demonstrated on New York City freeways. Cadillac has been granted a New York automated vehicle testing license under a new law championed, enacted and advanced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.”
As a reminder here, Cadillac’s Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving feature will make its debut in the 2018 Cadillac CT6, which is to be released this autumn in the US. The system utilizes a precision LiDAR map data archive in addition to a sensor system, which represents something of a first for the consumer market.