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Published on December 28th, 2017 | by James Ayre


User Evaluation Highly Rates 2018 Cadillac CT6’s Super Cruise Feature (But Problems Are Present)

December 28th, 2017 by  

The new “Super Cruise” semi-autonomous driving system features in the 2018 Cadillac CT6 were rated pretty highly in a recent user experience evaluation conducted by the In-vehicle UX (IVX) group at Strategy Analytics, but problems are present.

In particular, the lane-centering ability of the tech and the alert system meant to get the attention of the driver when they have to take over both scored rather well by the IVX rating standards.

Where GM/Cadillac’s Super Cruise was shown as being relatively unfinished, though, was with regard to the driver hand-off experience (which could potentially be rather dangerous) and with regard to the messaging system used in the instrument cluster (which is reportedly too wordy and sometimes “nonsensical”).

The Senior Analyst at IVX who authored the report, Derek Viita, stated: “There are 2 main issues with GM’s Super Cruise. The time-point of driver hand-off to Super Cruise is missing a clear and obvious non-visual indication that the hand-off was successful; and messaging in the instrument cluster is too wordy for a high-speed use case and at times, nonsensical. However, this is not the first time we’ve noted these human factors issues in a system: our recent evaluations of other comparable systems have also noted these usability issues.”

Interesting points — ones which seemingly support earlier comments by engineers and execs at firms developing so-called Level 3 self-driving car tech — where drivers are required to take over at a moment’s notice if necessary. Some of them have highlighted that this is possibly not the safest thing.

Green Car Congress provides some background: “Super Cruise is the first semi-autonomous system on market which uses a sophisticated driver monitoring system (equipped with eye and head position tracking). GM’s theory is that this implementation could augment other methods traditionally used to keep the driver in the loop, such as ensuring that the driver’s hands stay on or near the steering wheel.”

Perhaps such an approach could work decently, but I remain mostly in agreement with the above referenced execs and engineers — Level 3 self-driving tech can be tricky to do safely; it’s probably best to just skip straight to Level 4 or Level 5 tech if possible.

However, the Director of Syndicated Research UXIP, Chris Schreiner, noted: “Despite these issues, Super Cruise is a compelling system and well-positioned to compete in this emerging market for semi-autonomous driving features. A few simple design fixes are recommended, but these, paired with Super Cruise’s robust driver monitoring system and best-in-class lane centering, could potentially make it a game-changing feature.”

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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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