Cadillac’s 2018 CT6 sedans can drive by themselves, and will even know when drivers aren’t paying enough attention to the road.
Cadillac’s parent company, General Motors, is making the new CT6 the first to feature the carmaker’s Super Cruise semi-autonomous technology. With complete hands-free driving capability, GM officials claim Super Cruise is the most advanced of any Level 2 autonomous technology—the highest level currently available—on the market.
“Super Cruise is the industry’s first true hands-free driving technology for the freeway,” said Lisa Sieradski, global product manager of the CT6.
The new system can be employed on highways and freeways only. As the vehicle enters semi-autonomous mode, its cameras, radar sensors, and high-tech maps guide it along the road, keeping a constant check on traffic—and shutting down if conditions become unsafe.
While outer cameras and sensors monitor freeway conditions, Super Cruise also uses a steering wheel camera with eye-tracking software to determine whether the driver is paying attention while the system is activated. After noticing the driver has diverted their eyes from the road, it engages three separate alert tiers; if the driver does not look back to the road or engage the steering wheel after the warnings, the car slows to a halt and contacts GM’s OnStar safety system.
Electric automaker Tesla has installed similar Level 2 capability into its vehicles; however, their system allows drivers to use it on any road (not just highways). Additionally, Tesla’s semi-autonomous mode requires drivers keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times.
General Motors officials have not given clues to when Super Cruise technology will become available in other GM or Cadillac models, but CT6 vehicles are currently being shipped to dealerships nationwide. In addition, Cadillac has sent a dozen new CT6 cars on a road trip from New York to Los Angeles to show off the new feature.
“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,” said Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac president. “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.”