Super Cruise, General Motors' hands-free driver assistance system, is being significantly improved. An expanded version of the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) will be introduced from the 2021 Cadillac CT5 and CT4, followed by the brand new 2021 Escalade that the automaker announced on Tuesday. The improvements include an automated lane change function with which the hands-free system can change lanes if necessary.
The driver assistance function for Super Cruise introduced in 2017 is currently only available for the Cadillac CT5 and CT6 sedans. It uses information from cameras and radar sensors integrated in the car, GPS data and 3D map data collected by the company to enable driving without hands. This feature is combined with a driver monitoring system that uses an infrared camera to ensure that the driver pays attention to the road in case Super Cruise has to give up control.
Super Cruise's enhancements were made possible by General Motors’s brand new digital vehicle platform, which offers greater electrical bandwidth and computing power. This new “digital nervous system”, which was published for the first time last year, will enable smartphone-style wireless software updates for all GM vehicles over the next four years.
"This is our most extensive update we have made to Super Cruise since its debut," said Mario Maiorana, chief engineer of Super Cruise, in a statement. “We’ve made a number of improvements to make Super Cruise more intuitive, powerful, and accessible to our customers. In addition to the functions for automatic lane change, we have improved the user interface and driving dynamics in hands-free mode. “
Automatic lane changing is a highly complex task that requires input from various sensors that work closely with the vehicle's digital nervous system. This is also a sign that GM is gaining more confidence in the capabilities of its ADAS. Here's how it works for drivers:
When Super Cruise is activated, the driver can either tap the indicator or snap it in completely to indicate that he wants to change lanes. This causes the system to look for an acceptable opening in the specified lane and takes time to alert other cars that a lane change is imminent. If the system determines that the displayed lane is open, the vehicle changes to this lane. The driver warning system continues to ask the driver to concentrate on the surroundings while changing lanes.
After the start, the instrument cluster displays messages that inform the driver when the automatic lane change has started or whether no lane change is available. The lane change must be carried out manually by the driver. The system displays messages, e.g. B. "Search for an opening" or "lane change" to keep the driver informed of the status of the lane change.
GM claims that the stuff Super Cruise works with ̵
The only other company that offers automated lane change in its vehicles is Tesla. The electric car manufacturer's Navigate on Autopilot system added the function at the end of 2018. It was updated months later to give some drivers the choice of whether the car could automatically change lanes without their input. The feature has been praised by some drivers who appreciate Tesla's willingness to take risks, while others criticize that they lag behind the capabilities of human drivers.
GM needs to make Super Cruise available in more models because the future of the CT6 is in question. The vehicle that launched Super Cruise was in production at the GM assembly plant in Detroit-Hamtramck. Now, however, it has to be moved to a different location, as the automaker plans to convert the plant exclusively for the production of autonomous and electric vehicles. GM has announced that it will leave the CT6 in the U.S. line-up, but it remains to be seen where production will be relocated to.
Starting this year, the brand plans to expand Super Cruise to the entire product range, followed by other GM brands. Cadillac also plans to offer vehicle-to-everything communication (V2X) in a high-volume crossover vehicle not named by 2023 to extend the technology to the entire Cadillac portfolio.
Of course, Super Cruise is not cheap. CT6 shoppers pay $ 2,500 for the standalone option on luxury (sticker price: $ 66,290) and platinum models ($ 85,290). For luxury models, Super Cruise also requires buyers to purchase the $ 3,100 driver assistance package. It is not yet clear how prices will be calculated for future models.
Cadillac has already published some statistics on the use and penetration of Super Cruise:
- Around 30 percent of the Cadillac CT6 are equipped with Super Cruise  customers use the system about 50 percent of the time when it is available.
- More than 70,000 miles driven each week – and a total of more than 5.2 million miles – with Super Cruise.
- Over 85 percent of current CT6 owners would prefer or consider only a Super Cruise-equipped vehicle