Cadillac has added 70,000 additional miles to its Super Cruise hands-free driving aid, creating a total of more than 200,000 miles of available roads usable by the geofenced system.
- Cadillac Super Cruise is considered by many to the the leading semi-autonomous driving assist system on the market today.
- Super Cruise is restricted for use on mapped highways in specific conditions, Cadillac has just added an additional 70,000 miles to those approved roads.
- Over-the-air updates will be sent to 2018 and 2019 CT6 vehicles, making for a, hopefully, effortless update before the end of 2019.
The extra miles and full suite of system enhancements will be completed by the end of this year, with updates available to owners of the 2018 and 2019 CT6 luxury sedan. According to Cadillac, the added mapping data itself will be sent via over-the-air updates throughout the summer and fall of this year.
While it’s presently only available in the CT6, Super Cruise will soon be added to Cadillac’s newest midsize offering, the 2020 model year CT5 sedan. Introduced at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the CT5 offers a choice of turbocharged four or twin-turbo six-cylinder engine, and is available in rear- or all-wheel drive format.
Super Cruise is a Level 2 driving aid, according to the five established levels that have been categorized by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). This means the system is capable of taking over driving controls – such as speed, steering, braking, and maintaining a safe distance to a vehicle ahead – in limited circumstances. Despite the “hands-free” tag, Super Cruise has been purposefully designed to function only in certain driving environments.
These include limited access highways with dividers separating lanes of travel, along with dedicated on- and off-ramps. Until now, Super Cruise would not operate at any form of intersection. But Cadillac now confirms some of the additional 70,000 miles of capability include “limited intersections” and “traffic control devices.” Yet, in the case of railroad crossings, traffic lights and pedestrian crossings, Super Cruise will still alert the driver to take back control of the car.
So how does it all work? To start, Super Cruise uses many of the same camera and radar sensors the vehicle relies on for features like active cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking. The key ingredient in Super Cruise is the integration of extremely high-resolution 3-D mapping data, which has been programmed using advanced lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) technology.
As we pointed out in a story that breaks down the ins and outs of Super Cruise, this mapping data is similar to what you’d encounter when using Google Maps. Cadillac says this data is accurate to within 2 inches of detail.
Miles aren’t the only things being added to Super Cruise, however. In its press release, Cadillac said customer feedback has led to a number of suggestions and improvements based on approximately 2.5-million miles of real-world driving. These include “dynamic lane offset,” which allows the car to better adjust its lane positioning when passing large vehicles, such as tractor trailers, on the highway.
Messages in the gauge cluster now keep the driver informed as to why Super Cruise might be unavailable for use. This could be caused simply by traveling outside of the system’s mapped network of roads, or influenced by poor weather conditions and active construction zones that could obstruct or blue lane markings. The Driver Attention System, which makes certain the person behind the wheel remains alert, has also been updated.
“We are constantly working to make Super Cruise the most beneficial system for our customers,” explains Mario Maiorana, Super Cruise’s chief engineer. “Expanding our offering of compatible highways will allow people the ease and convenience of traveling hands-free more often.”
Keep in mind that “hands-free” does not translate to “attention-free.” That’s because the driver monitoring system integrated into the cabin is there to ensure a driver won’t be distracted and become unavailable to take control of the vehicle. An infrared camera keeps track of the driver’s eyes, to make certain things like smartphones, cat naps, or super-sized hamburgers don’t come between the driver and what’s happening in front of the vehicle as it zooms down the highway.