Cadillac says its “Super Cruise” is the industry’s first true hands-free driving technology for the highway, and it will be debuting very soon.
While certain Tesla owners have taken the liberty of using Autopilot as a hands-free driving technology on the highway, Autopilot isn’t intended to be hands-free. Cadillac, however, is boasting that Super Cruise utilizes two advanced technology systems — a driver attention system and precision LiDAR map data – to ensure safe and convenient vehicle operation. The two systems work along with a network of cameras and radar sensors in the CT6 to offer hands-free capability.
The technology also adds automatic lane-centering to CT6’s existing suite of driver assistance active safety technologies, giving the sedan automatic control of speed and steering during highway driving. Cadillac says Super Cruise will be available starting this fall.
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To differentiate Super Cruise from existing semi-autonomous features like Autopilot, there’s a small camera located on top of the steering column. Its purpose is to focus exclusively on the driver and it works with infrared lights to track head position so that it knows where the driver is looking whenever Super Cruise is active. Other systems rely solely on steering wheel input and warning messages to request driver attention and control, so Cadillac is the only automaker to currently monitor driver attention to the road ahead with a separate camera.
If the system detects the driver has turned attention away from the road for too long, it will prompt the driver to return their attention to what’s in front and if the driver doesn’t immediately refocus, Super Cruise will continue to safely steer until a further escalation of alerts prompts the driver to resume supervision. If that isn’t enough to grab their attention, a steering wheel light bar guides the driver to look at the road or take back control of the vehicle. If necessary, additional alerts like visual indicators in the instrument cluster, tactile alerts in Cadillac’s Safety Alert Seat and audible alerts can be triggered.
In the case that someone is completely unresponsive, the Cadillac CT6 will bring the car to a controlled stop and contact OnStar to alert first responders if necessary.
“American drivers travel twice as many miles on urban and suburban highways as they do on rural roads,” said Barry Walkup, chief engineer of Cadillac Super Cruise said. “Super Cruise allows hands-free driving and operates only within the environment where it has the most benefit. While it is technically possible for the technology to drive hands-free on other kinds of streets and roads, we feel strongly that this targeted approach is the best to build consumer and regulatory confidence and enthusiasm for advanced mobility.”
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