How Cadillac Super Cruise Hands-Free Driving System Works

How Cadillac Super Cruise Hands-Free Driving System Works
As the auto industry inches closer and closer to the official rollout of self-driving vehicles, the current generation of drivers witness the first versions of the technologies that will shape our future. And in this respect, there’s no other system more advanced and closer to full self-driving than Tesla’s Autopilot.
How Cadillac Super Cruise Hands-Free Driving System Works
Even though there are tons of other assistance technologies out there that can be considered the precursor of something more, few of them can compete with the allure of the Autopilot.

Among those few is the array of features called Super Cruise that is currently rolling out on select Cadillac vehicles, starting with the CT6 and continuing with the CT5.

In a study conducted by Consumer Reports in October 2018, a study that is supposed to be “the first-ever ranking of partially automated driving systems,” Super Cruise not only matched Tesla’s Autopilot, but surpassed it becoming the most appreciated such system currently available.What is Super Cruise
Super Cruise is a hands-free driver assistance system that can be used only on limited-access freeways that that are separated from opposing traffic and have already been mapped by General Motors. It cannot be used, at least for now, on any other road.

Just as all other systems of its kind, it takes over steering and collaborates with the Adaptive Cruise Control to keep the car in its lane and at the set speed.

It also keeps track of whether the driver is paying attention to the road. Unique to Super Cruise is that it does this not by requiring the driver to keep his hands or touch the steering wheel, but by tracking the driver’s eyes and head position.

How Super Cruise works

How Cadillac Super Cruise Hands-Free Driving System Works
Super Cruise uses the cameras and sensors in the CT6 to scan the road and keep the car in its lane. By tapping into GPS sensors and a high-precision map, the system can drive the car in certain conditions on its own.

The GPS and maps are used to determine the car’s position, and the Lane Sensing Camera keeps track of where the lane marking is to keep it steady.

With the help of the Adaptive Cruise control, the car travels at a set speed. When it detects another vehicle in front, it either accelerates or brakes depending on the traffic conditions, trying to keep a driver-selected following time from a vehicle ahead. This works even in stop and go conditions.

At any time Super Cruise can be overridden by moving the steering wheel, applying the brakes or accelerating.

Despite being capable of handling the car on its own, Super Cruise will not work unless it detects the driver is paying attention to the road. In Cadillac’s case, that doesn’t mean necessarily having the hands on the steering wheel, but keeping the eyes looking forward.What happens when the driver looks away from the road
Just as with any other existing self-driving system, Super Cruise too needs constant human supervision. In Cadillac’s case, that’s more than just a recommendation, but more of a fail safe.

How Cadillac Super Cruise Hands-Free Driving System Works Say you’re on a drive on one of the already mapped routes and for some reason you divert your gaze from the road. Detecting this, Super Cruise will try hard to get your attention, and if it doesn’t it can go as far as to stop the car and alert emergency services.

First, the light bar on the steering wheel flashes green. If no response is detected, the color changes to red. If this doesn’t work, a voice prompt will be engaged, asking for the driver’s attention
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In the event that even that doesn’t work, the car will begin slowing down until it will eventually stop in its lane. Hazard lights will be activated and OnStar Emergency Services will be notified. Super Cruise limitations
As all other similar systems out there, Super Cruise is not full self-driving, meaning permanent human supervision is needed. In fact, GM’s technology is far more limited than Autopilot – as a side note it was the eye-tracking technology that put Super Cruise in front in the Consumer Reports study.

First of all, Super Cruise does not steer away from obstacles. It will not try to avoid vehicles, animals, pedestrians, bicyclists, potholes, debris, construction barriers, and not even cones. It will also not react to what other cars are doing, meaning it will not, for instance, get out of the way to avoid an impact with a car changing lanes. Lane changing, merging and other similar maneuvers are also out of the question.

Separately, the eye tracking system does just that, and it is not meant to be a system that detects drowsiness or day-dreaming. Also, GM warns not to use Super Cruise in poor weather conditions and limited visibility.

How Cadillac Super Cruise Hands-Free Driving System Works “It's extremely important that you pay attention to the operation of the vehicle, even while using Super Cruise. Do not use a hand-held device while driving, even with Super Cruise engaged. Always be prepared to take over operation of the vehicle at all times,” says GM.How to activate and deactivate Super Cruise
Two of the car’s systems need to be on for Super Cruise to become available, namely Adaptive Cruise Control and Forward Automatic Braking, and one, Teen Driving, needs to be off. The cameras and sensors on the car have to be unobstructed or damaged.

Also, the car needs to be on a limited-access freeway accessible only by ramps, the road has to be separated from oncoming traffic, and lane markings need to be clearly visible

Super Cruise can be activated in the CT6 by performing the following steps: press the Adaptive Cruise Control button on the steering wheel – wait for Super Cruise to detect when it’s in an area it is familiar with (limited-access freeway with visible lane markings, GPS available) – wait for the symbol to illuminate in white in the instrument cluster – press the Super Cruise button on the steering wheel – wait for the steering wheel light bar to illuminate in green – remove hands from the steering wheel.

Deactivating Super Cruise all you have to do is press the Super Cruise button again or press the brake pedal.

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