Cadillac Demos Super Cruise Autonomous Driving

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 25: Cadillac and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul of New York kick off first-ever hands-free drive on freeways from coast to coast with Cadillac Super Cruise at Cadillac House, NYC. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Cadillac)

Cadillac staged a demonstration drive of their new Super Cruise autonomous driving technology in September.  This drive saw Cadillac representatives, along with a selection of automotive journalists piloting a fleet of CT6 sedans from New York City, New York to Los Angeles, California.  The fleet passed through 16 states in the cross-country drive, including stops in Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Memphis, Tennessee; Dallas, Texas; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Phoenix, Arizona.

Super Cruise is GM’s latest autonomous technology that supports limited access, divided highways.  Unlike similar systems from companies like Tesla, GM has taken a more conservative approach that allows them to not treat their customers like beta testers.  The system depends on an extensive on-board ‘map’ of the divided highways across the United States as well as a suite of LiDAR (think RADAR that uses lasers to provide a detailed 3D map of the roads that are Super Cruise approved – currently 130,000 miles).  Additionally, GM has included a driver attention system that will only allow the car to drive itself if the driver remains engaged in the process.  If a driver decides to stop paying attention to the road ahead, the system will alert the driver to return attention to the road – even during autonomous driving mode.  If the driver continues to not pay attention (either by choice or because they are unable to comply) – the CT6 will take action by moving to the shoulder and stopping.

This more conservative approach should provide most of the benefits of an autonomous system while avoiding safety issues that have been identified in some other systems that attempt to operate on all roads, do not have a sophisticated a driver attention requirement, or operate using only visible light camera systems.

The Super Cruise system will be available as an option on 2018 Cadillac CT6 sedans.  Success of this system will, no doubt, lead to offering this in other Cadillac and GM vehicles in the coming years.  Expansion into other road types and countries will likely follow as well.

Press release below:

September 25, 2017 – Beginning today, Cadillac embarked on the first official hands-free drive on freeways from one side of the country to the other, using the industry-leading Super Cruise technology. A select group of key stakeholders and media will put the power of Super Cruise technology to the test in twelve Super Cruise-equipped Cadillac CT6 vehicles, which departed this morning from Cadillac House in New York City and will travel to Los Angeles, California. Crossing through 16 states, plus the District of Columbia, in Super Cruise-equipped Cadillac CT6 vehicles, the drive program will make stops in major cities across the U.S. including: Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Memphis, Tennessee; Dallas, Texas; Santa Fe, New Mexico and Phoenix, Arizona. Super Cruise is Cadillac’s innovative driver assistance feature, which enables hands-free, driver-assisted operation on 130,000 miles of limited access, divided freeways in the U.S.

“Cadillac is setting new industry standards with ground-breaking driver assistance technologies like Super Cruise, the world’s first true hands-free driving system for the freeway,” said Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac president. “We are excited to bring Super Cruise, a true testament to Cadillac’s innovative spirit and technical capability, on its first-ever hands-free drive on freeways from coast to coast.”

The multi-state, cross-country drive marks the first time that Super Cruise technology will be demonstrated on New York City freeways. Cadillac has been granted a New York automated vehicle testing license under a new law championed, enacted and advanced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“We are proud to work hand-in-hand with government officials to continue to develop new technologies that will define the future of transportation in the U.S.,” said de Nysschen. “It’s especially fitting to kick off this drive in New York City, the home of Cadillac’s new global headquarters, and we’re honored to have the support of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, both of whom foster New York’s leadership in innovation and cutting-edge technology.”

To celebrate the historic drive, Cadillac hosted a press conference with Hochul at Cadillac House in New York City. The Lieutenant Governor and de Nysschen sent off the fleet of Super Cruise-equipped vehicles, led by a police escort, as they embarked on the cross-country journey.

“Revolutions in transportation were at the heart of New York’s original rise to national prominence and economic prosperity, and this cross-country demonstration continues that tradition,” said Hochul.  “By changing state law to allow automated vehicle testing and partnering with Cadillac to bring its headquarters to New York City, Governor Cuomo has positioned New York State to take the lead in the development of the driverless/hands-free technology that is rapidly transforming the automotive industry.”

Super Cruise will be available this fall in the 2018 Cadillac CT6. Unlike other driver assistance systems, Super Cruise utilizes two advanced technology systems — a driver attention system and precision LiDAR map data — which brings a new level of technology and intuitive control to further elevate freeway driving.