Semi-Autonomous Cadillac Possible by 2015

Advanced Cadillac XTS features Super Cruise technology.

Cadillac Super Cruise

Autonomous driving may still be about a decade away from arriving on the market, but that isn’t stopping General Motors from bringing semi-autonomous driving to its all-new Cadillac XTS. The large sedan, debuting this year, wont be outfitted with Super Cruise technology, but by 2015 it could become an option when you buy an XTS.

About Super Cruise

GM describes Super Cruise as technology that provides fully automatic steering, braking and lane-centering in highway driving under certain optimal conditions. The building blocks for Super Cruise can be found in the XTS and the all-new ATS compact sedan as part of each vehicles Driver Assist package. Driver Assist makes use of sensors to provide 360-degree crash risk detection and enhanced driver assist features.

Super Cruise is designed for interstate use and can work in bumper-to-bumper traffic such as what you might experience on a summer Saturday morning while heading down the Garden State Parkway on your way to the shore. It can also be useful on long, open road trips such on you might take on I-80 or I-15.

Cadillac hands free

Semi-autonomous driving allows you to take your hands off
of the steering wheel under certain optimal conditions.

“Super Cruise has the potential to improve driver performance and enjoyment,” said Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac marketing. “Our goal with advanced technologies, like this and our CUE system, is to lead in delivering an intuitive user experience.”

Building Blocks

The building blocks for semi-autonomous driving GM says are in place include rear automatic braking; intelligent brake assist; forward collision alert; full-speed range adaptive cruise control; a safety alert seat; head up display and automatic collision preparation. Also included are lane departure warning; side blind zone alert; rear cross traffic alert; adaptive forward lighting and a rear vision camera with dynamic guidelines.

Under semi-autonomous driving, lane-centering technology makes use of forward-looking cameras to detect lane markings as well as GPS map data to note curves and other road characteristics. Operational limitations for this system include weather conditions and just how well lanes are marked. When operating in less than optimal conditions, the driver must steer.

Said John Capp, General Motors director of Global Active Safety Electronics and Innovation, The primary goal of GM’s autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle development is safety. In the coming years, autonomous driving systems paired with advanced safety systems could help eliminate the crash altogether by interceding on behalf of drivers before they’re even aware of a hazardous situation. More than ever, consumers will be able to trust their car to do the right thing.”

Driver Appeal

GM says that interest in semi-autonomous driving appeals to some drivers, including those that participated in a study it conducted with its research partners and funded by the Federal Highway Administration. Drivers expressed interest in using the technology for long trips where lane-centering and full-speed adaptive cruise control might reduce the tedium experienced when traveling.

Photos courtesy of General Motors Company.

Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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