Driving east in the morning can sometimes border on insanity – a caffeine–fueled Mad Max parody remake as drivers jostle for position blinded by a burning ball of space gas 93 million miles away. Sun visors flip down, and eyes squint as silhouetted car–like shapes race at 70-plus miles per hour toward corporate oblivion.
Cadillac Super Cruise is one of the more robust driver-assist systems on the market, allowing for semi-autonomous driving (calling the system fully autonomous is disingenuous) on about 130,000 miles of limited–access freeways. One of the features that puts Cadillac Super Cruise above the competition is its robust driver monitoring system. The system will only work if the driver is paying attention to the road, a feature other prominent systems lack. However, bright sunlight directly hitting the camera located atop the steering column that’s supposed to monitor the driver can cause the self–driving system to disengage.
The fix could require more than a software update. According to Daryl Wilson, GM‘s lead automated–driving engineer, who spoke with Automotive News, the fixes for the sunlight problem will be part of “significant changes” in the next–generation system. It’s unclear when the next–generation Cadillac Super Cruise system will arrive; however, the automaker plans to roll out the system across its lineup next year, and the fixes would be crucial to its success. The fixes could range from a filter or diffuser to moving the camera.
As automakers slowly implement various levels of self–driving technology into cars, safety should be the highest priority. Driver monitoring systems help keep drivers from abusing the system and putting themselves and others in danger. The problem with Cadillac Super Cruise is a reminder that these technologies are far from perfect. Even a minor computational hiccup is dangerous in a moving vehicle. Often, issues with self–driving technologies and weather come from rain and snow — precipitation that hinders visibility. We now know that bright sunlight is a nemesis, too.
Source: Automotive News