Get excited! GM is bringing its Super Cruise advanced automatic feature to enhance your highway driving after summer ends, debuting first in new version of the Cadillac CT6. Super Cruise has been worked on for a couple of years now and this semi-autonomous drive mode is ready for the road. Its release date had been delayed from 2016 to 2017 to allow engineers more time to make the system as safe as possible.
Super Cruises has a lot in common with Tesla’s Autopilot, which takes over during highway driving settings by maintaining lane position and change speed to match surrounding traffic. The new feature is only available on highways that meet specific criteria such as being a “divided limited access highway” with a defined off and on ramp according to the Verge. This system also makes sure you don’t fall asleep at the wheel while the feature is engaged with infrared cameras built into the steering wheel. The system will then play audio alerts and use a mounted light notification system.
There’s also another fail-safe measure used by GM. The vehicle will safely stop if it is unable to get the driver to respond to these alerts, which has also been implemented in Tesla’s Autopilot software. Much like Tesla’s offering as well, Super Cruise can be updated over-the-airwaves.
However, unlike Autopilot, GM decided to incorporate LiDAR data. Tesla opted not to use the high resolution laser detection tool in its vehicle and GM has followed suit. The cost and look of cars with this technology is simply too unappealing. However, GM has found a workaround. They are deploying a fleet of LiDAR mapping cars to thoroughly image highways and then pass the information along to the cars.
This option does not come standard, with a $2,500 upgrade price and with the potential of another $3,100 in additional expense if you opt to purchase a trim model that doesn’t cover the cost of the driver assist suite.
The launch of Super Cruise is very exciting, but this is the year Elon Musk has also pledged to field a first coast-to-coast of Tesla’ self-driving cars. In short, we are off to the races for who can field the first autonomous car.