After electrification, autonomous driving has been possibly the hottest topic of conversation in the automotive industry in recent years. But while a number of automakers offer limited self-driving functions, the most advanced systems are found in Teslas… and Cadillacs.
Cadillac’s Super Cruise system is standard equipment in the CT6 sedan, and we actually tried it out last year.
Now, we learn from the company that a new and improved version is on the way. Cadillac has confirmed it is continually bringing improvements to its technology, that it will roll out an updated version later this year, and that more of its models will get it.
Under certain specific conditions, the system allows the car’s driver to take their hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals. Those conditions, at present, are that the vehicle must be on a highway registered in the computer’s memory system. The driver is obliged to remain alert, however, and that’s monitored by a camera within the cabin.
No text messaging when the Super Cruise system is at work, in other words
Cadillac did not provide any further details on the new functions it will integrate in the new version of its system. It did say the goal is to have the system in place by 2020.
"The system that we have today, we continue to upgrade,” explained Brandon Vivian, head engineer at Cadillac, in an interview with media outlet The Verge. He specified that for the moment, the company is not referring to a new generation of Super Cruise, but sees the technology now being developed as a midpoint advance between the current system and the one that will be the official 2.0 version.
Perhaps more interesting is that the executive referred to the teams of engineers working on the project. This shows how serious the company is about developing self-driving technology. We’re not talking about a one-person affair. Part of the job of Cadillac’s team members is to teach the system how to recognize road signs and traffic lights, how and when to cross an intersection and how to function in construction zone.
At present, the system is only found in the CT6 sedan, but it will be included as an option with the new CT5 that will debut towards the end of 2019.
Beyond that, four other Cadillac models – including some that don’t even exist yet – will inherit the technology as well before the end of 2021.