By on January 28, 2020

GM

Super Cruise, the advanced driver-assist system that’s (very) slowly making its way into Cadillac vehicles, has already earned accolades for its precision and commitment to safety. Now, it’s been enhanced.

General Motors on Tuesday revealed the next generation of the system we’re loathe to call semi-autonomous, tapping the new Cadillac CT4 and CT5 sedans as its debut applications. The big takeaway? Your Cadillac needn’t stay in its own lane anymore.

Like Tesla’s Autopilot and a number of other systems, Super Cruise allows users periods of hands-free driving, easing driver fatigue on long road journeys. Unlike Autopilot, however, it keeps better tabs on the driver’s actions, issuing prompts and shutting down if its driver-monitoring camera and steering wheel sensors detect undue distraction. Super Cruise will also lock itself out until the driver restarts the car.

The enhanced system announced today takes what existed before and adds automated lane change functionality, allowing lane changes at the request of the driver… but only when it’s safe to do so.

From GM:

When Super Cruise is engaged, the driver can either tap or fully latch the turn signal to indicate that they would like to change lanes. This will prompt the system to look for an acceptable opening in the indicated lane, while also taking time to let other cars know that a lane change is imminent. If the system determines that the indicated lane is open, the vehicle will merge into said lane. The driver attention system will continue to require the driver to focus on the surroundings during the lane change.

Upon initiation, the gauge cluster will display messages letting the driver know when the automated lane change has begun, or if lane change is unavailable and changing lanes must be manually completed by the driver. The system will display messages, such as “looking for an opening” or “changing lanes” to keep the driver informed on the status of the lane change.

While the 2021 CT4 and CT5 will be first to gain the feature, the revamped 2021 Escalade will offer it soon thereafter. The XT6 crossover, which bowed last year with no Super Cruise at all, might gain the feature this year. The system first appeared in 2017 on the CT6 full-size sedan — a model which ceases production in a few days’ time.

GM credits the new models’ all-digital vehicle platform for affording the processing power needed to make enhanced Super Cruise possible. Other updates to the system include “richer” map information to aid those lane changes (as well as turns and interchange navigation), plus improved speed and steering control. The automaker also claims it’s made Super Cruise easier to activate.

Back in 2018, GM said it planned to make Super Cruise available on all Cadillac models by 2020, with other GM brands gaining the feature after that point. That timeline is now outdated.

[Images: General Motors]

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13 Comments on “GM Updates Super Cruise; Drivers No Longer Have to Stay in Their Lane...”


  • avatar
    vvk

    About three years after Tesla… Well, at least they are making some progress.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “GM Updates Super Cruise; Drivers No Longer Have to Stay in Their Lane”

    So they’ll exhibit the expected behavior of Cadillac drivers?

  • avatar
    crtfour

    I wish the drivers of 20 year old dented-bumper Camrys (or insert your vehicle of choice here) would follow the Super Cruise logic, especially the part about looking for an acceptable opening and taking the time to let other cars know that a lane change is coming.

    Not to stereotype of anything….happened to me this morning.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Seems like it would be a lot less work just to change lanes yourself. It’s kind of embarrassing that such half-baked systems can be marketed as a feature.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Many people don’t like to drive, to them it takes way too much effort and thought.

      While I think self driving cars are silly and kind of crazy (just take a train if you hate driving so much), I can see the benefits of Super Cruise. On a long, boring, highway drive having the car handle mundane things like maintaining speed (IE: normal cruise control), follow bends / curves and now changes lanes when / if possible would be a nice feature.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        Sure, if that’s really how it works. But if it’s going to police your behavior and start harassing you with dings and beeps and buzzers, pull over, refuse to function without a reboot, etc., it seems like more of a hassle than it’s worth. And it’s not like you can take a nap or read a book. The car is monitoring you to make sure you’re staring at the road (and for some such systems, have a hand on the wheel). If I’m going to have to do that stuff anyway, why don’t I just maintain total control? Being a passive “driver” just sounds like an exhausting exercise in frustration.

        • 0 avatar
          BrentinWA

          You can be on SuperCruise for hours and not touch the wheel or pedal once. I find it useful on my bumper to bumper commute to be remarkably useful. It allows me to use both hands to open a beverage stretch out, dig for my sunglasses, etc. I find that once the road opens up from heavy traffic, I enjoy retaking control to drive on my own. It’s also nice to engage on long stretches of flat, mostly straight roadways.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      No kidding! The Tesla version is fun for about an hour. Then, why bother.

      And it’s not as if isn’t mostly working, either. It’s just that unless its working very near 100% of the time, the uncertainty it introduces is more stressful than just doing the work yourself. Kind of like having a PA make travel arrangements for you: In theory sort of nice, and mostly OK, but they invariably mess up just often enough that you’re better off just doing it yourself.

      Machines are a boon to the extent they allow you to abstract away an entire task. The way ABS relives you of the requirement to feel for traction when braking, and pumping if you’re starting to slip. But if ABS only worked sometimes, you could never just slam on the brakes in slippery stuff, and hence would be better off without it altogether.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “Back in 2018, GM said it planned to make Super Cruise available on all Cadillac models by 2020, with other GM brands gaining the feature after that point. That timeline is now outdated.”

    So we’re letting GM off pretty easy huh? :-)

    [Interesting that newer OEM’s with less… “expertise” are held to a higher standard on timeline revisions.]

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      It’s a trade off I suppose. I’m not aware of the GM systems driving into stuff like some of the earlier ones. I don’t think this forum is known for letting GM “off the hook” on much of anything…this just happens to be something they seem to be getting right for a change.

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