Cadillac has announced that engineers are taking its “Super Cruise” semi-autonomous driving system to public driving roads, suggesting that General Motors and its luxury brand plan on doing more with the technology than just putting on a PR show. In fact, Cadillac officially projects that this technology could find itself in production vehicles later this decade, which makes us wonder if the system will be one of the many innovations debuting with the Cadillac LTS, the name rumored to be reserved for the brand’s Omega-based flagship vehicle.
The Super Cruise system is capable of semi-automated driving including hands-off lane following, braking, and speed control under certain driving conditions. The system is designed to ease the driver’s workload on freeway driving conditions only, in bumper-to-bumper traffic and on long road trips. Keep in mind that it is only meant to ease the workload on the driver, and the driver’s attention and occasional input may still be required. Operational limitations based on external factors such as traffic, weather, and visibility of lane markings mean that the driver needs to stay alert. When reliable data is not available, such as when there are no lane markings, the system will prompt the driver to resume steering.
To perform these actions, Super Cruise test vehicles utilize a fusion of radar, ultrasonic sensors, cameras, and GPS map data in a way that’s seamlessly integrated into the prototypes for a near-production appearance. To date, the development of Super Cruise has included testing on closed courses and in a driving simulator, as well as limited driving on real roads. When testing is eventually completed, GM engineers expect to have accumulated hundreds of thousands of miles of driving in various environments, including day and night driving, and a variety of weather and traffic conditions.