Cadillac Edges Closer to Autonomous Driving With Super Cruise


  • Cadillac Super Cruise Picture

    Cadillac Super Cruise Picture

    Jeremy Salinger, the R&D manager for Cadillac's Super Cruise, demonstrates hands-off driving. | April 30, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Cadillac is ready to begin testing its semi-automated driving system in the real world, GM said on Monday.
  • The system is capable of hands-off lane following, braking and speed control under certain conditions.
  • Cadillac says the technology could make its way into production models later this decade.

DETROIT — Cadillac is ready to begin testing its semi-automated driving system in the real world, GM said on Monday.

The system is capable of hands-off lane following, braking and speed control under certain conditions.

Cadillac says the technology could make its way into production models later this decade.

Super Cruise bundles radar, ultrasonic sensors, cameras and GPS map data.

"The system is designed to ease the driver's workload on freeways only, in bumper-to-bumper traffic and on long road trips," said GM in a statement. "The driver's attention is still required.

GM noted that Super Cruise will have "operational limitations" based on external factors such as traffic, weather and visibility of lane markings. When reliable data is not available, such as when there are no lane markings, the system will prompt the driver to resume steering.

According to GM, Super Cruise is aimed at giving the driver a break from the hassle of sitting in traffic, rather than completely taking over driving. This, despite a race by some automakers to get ahead of the pack when it comes to autonomous vehicles or so-called "driverless cars."

There has been a proliferation of such vehicles ranging from Google's self-driving cars to the U.S. Department of Defense's DARPA robo-car races.

"Such seemingly rapid progress might lead readers to think that robotic cars like those seen in Knight Rider, I, Robot, or even Batman might be just around the corner, but don't rush out to the dealership just yet," said SAE Vehicle Engineering Online in a recent posting. "Much remains to be done before robo-cars become reality.

"Besides miniaturization, sterling reliability and better affordability of the hardware and software, various social and cultural issues must also be addressed. Doubts linger, for instance, regarding whether motorists are really ready to let go of the driving wheel."

Traffic jams alone seem to be propelling automakers like Cadillac toward semi-autonomous and autonomous cars. The 2009 book Two Billion Cars: Driving Toward Sustainability, says that the world is accelerating toward 2 billion cars on the road, raising concerns about gridlock, emissions and oil dependence.

"Entrepreneurs, engineers, policymakers and the public must work together to reinvent vehicles, fuels and mobility," the book says.

Edmunds says: Are you ready to give up the steering wheel in your future Cadillac ATS or SRX?

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