Cadillac’s Super Cruise system for the 2018 CT6 is being marketed as the industry’s first true hands-free driving technology, and will be available this fall.
The way Super Cruise functions is by using two advanced systems (a driver attention system and precision LiDAR map data) in order to ensure safe and confident vehicle operation on the highway.
According to the automaker, this data-rich approach is unique in the industry, as these two intricate systems are added to a network of camera and other radar sensors in the CT6 saloon.
“Super Cruise is a more technologically advanced hands-free driving solution, which in terms of capability, integration and validation is uniquely focused on customer convenience and safety,” said Cadillac president, Johan de Nysschen. “Cadillac’s philosophy is to elevate driving. Super Cruise enables safe, simple hands-free driving for the highway.”
The system’s chief engineer, Barry Walkup, stated that during the system’s development stages, the team knew how important it was to keep the driver engaged, which is why they added the driver attention function, in order to supervise the person behind the wheel.
Speaking of which, the driver attention system works by using a small camera situated on top of the steering column. This camera focuses exclusively on the driver and with the help of infrared lights, it can track head position in order to determine where the driver is looking while Super Cruise is activated.
If the system detects the driver has turned his attention away from the road for two long, it will keep issuing all sorts of visual, tactile and audible alerts until the driver either takes control or the car comes to a controlled stop automatically.
As for its integration of LiDAR Map Data, Cadillac’s Super Cruise will use this technology alongside real-time cameras, sensors and GPS – a combo that improves vehicle control through curves and hills.
Still, this advanced map data is usable only on limited-access highways (highways with defined on & off ramps). Still, CT6 buyers will be able to use Super Cruise on most highway commutes, eliminating variables such as intersections and other less predictable potential hazards that can appear on rural roads or city streets.
“American drivers travel twice as many miles on urban and suburban highways as they do on rural roads,” added Walkup. “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.”
The system will be available exclusively as an option on the 2018 CT6 prestige sedan this fall in both US as well as Canadian markets.