• Hands Off! Cadillac’s New Super Cruise Allows Hands-Free Driving [Review]

    2018 Cadillac CT6 Super Cruise

    It’s Super. And I’m cruising. Introducing GM’s first bona fide hands-free driving technology making its debut on the 2018 Cadillac CT6. We were invited by the folks at Cadillac to test Super Cruise — their brilliant hands-free driving system for the freeway — on a two-day road trip from Cleveland to Chicago to Memphis that covered more than 900 miles.

    Super Cruise is designed to make both commuting and long-distance road trips a lot easier on the driver but do not think for a moment that this is a fully-autonomous driving system. The hands-free driving system does a great job of piloting the car on the highway but the driver must be continually aware of their surroundings and ongoing traffic conditions. Something that should be done at all times when behind the wheel of a car.

    2018 Cadillac CT6 Super Cruise
    Photo Credit: Scott Downing/Cadillac

    Cadillac’s system affords hands-free operation at speeds up to 85 mph by essentially incorporating the CT6’s adaptive cruise control with both a forward-facing camera to monitor the road ahead, precision LiDAR map data, and a sophisticated “driver attention” system. Super Cruise, however, will only operate on “limited-access highways,” which are considered divided multi-lane roads having well-defined on- and off-ramps. And it will continue to work in tunnels up to one kilometer before prompting for driver control.

    When the car leaves the highway, and under certain other conditions, it returns control to the driver.

    2018 Cadillac CT6 Super Cruise
    Photo Credit: Scott Downing/Cadillac

    Super Cruise simply won’t work over city streets or roads with intersections. And it knows what type of road you’re currently traversing, thanks to an advanced LiDAR-scanned mapping of the entire U.S. and Canadian highway systems that are aided with high-performance GPS sensors.

    In addition to the more than 160,000 miles of precision mapped roadways, the map database also keeps a record of scheduled road construction. As our highways evolve and undergo repair operations, the detailed map database is diligently updated and maintained by GM. These map updates are pushed to cars with Super Cruise at regular intervals or more often if necessary.

    2018 Cadillac CT6 Super Cruise

    The combination of LiDAR and an advance GPS-system help the hands-free driving system flawlessly anticipate and react to hills and curves along the way. If it gauges a bend in the road too tight for the speed set in cruise control, the system will even slow the car to a safe speed before entering the turn.

    Unfortunately, you can’t Facebook or catch up on your emails while Super Cruise is engaged. That’s because the system uses a steering-wheel-mounted camera to ensure the driver is mindfully monitoring the road and is ready to re-take control of the vehicle if necessary. It works as well at night as it does in bright sunlight, and can even follow a motorist’s eye movement through dark sunglasses.

    2018 Cadillac CT6 Super Cruise

    The one minor weakness we discovered about the infra-red sensors tracking eye and face movements occurs when sunlight is directly hitting the top of the steering wheel. The morning sunlight shining onto the steering wheel confused the infra-red sensors and we often had to move our head forward to keep Super Cruise from disengaging.

    If the driver is looking away or otherwise becomes inattentive, the system will give a series of visual, audible, and haptic warnings. Continue to ignore the alert signals, the system will then go ahead and disable itself until the car is switch off and restarted; should Super Cruise determine the motorist has become unresponsive, it will bring the vehicle to a controlled stop and contact first responders via OnStar.

    2018 Cadillac CT6 Super Cruise
    2018 Cadillac CT6 w/Super Cruise

    Not surprising, there is a learning curve involved getting to know when Super Cruise is available on a drive and how to pass control back and forth when the driver has to be hands-on and when the system is engaged for hands-free driving. Once we got past our “trust” issues and saw how well Super Cruise worked on the long drive — keeping the CT6 perfectly centered in the lane, slowing and speeding up as traffic conditions changed — we thought to ourselves that GM has come up with a winner.

    We recently finished a long road trip to Oregon and back and would have relished having a system to help us get past the long, boring sections of highway. It truly takes away some of the mental stress and physical tension encountered on extended drives.

    2018 Cadillac CT6 Super Cruise
    Photo Credit: Scott Downing/Cadillac

    Super Cruise is included in the 2018 Cadillac CT6 $85,290 Platinum trim or as a $5,000 option on the $66,290 Premium Luxury trim. We expect this hands-free technology to trickle over to other vehicles in Cadillac’s product line. It’s just that Cadillac hasn’t spilled the beans as to who and when will get it next.

    Check back in a couple of days to check out TFL’s video of Cadillac’s autonomous driving system in action.

    Derek Mau
    Derek Mau
    Before becoming an automotive journalist, Derek was diving into engine bays and wiring car audio systems for competitions since high school. Granted, there were a few extra bits and pieces after reassembling everything but nothing ever fell apart on the road. Today Derek applies his enthusiasm and gearhead knowledge into the latest cars, unraveling today's complex automotive technology, and learning the rich history behind classic cars.

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    17 thoughts on “Hands Off! Cadillac’s New Super Cruise Allows Hands-Free Driving [Review]

    1. Really nice feature. However, if you can’t do anything other than watch the road, I’m not sure people will pay the premium.

      1. It might be hard to realize the value of Super Cruise until you actually try it. I was a little skeptical myself and it took a little bit of time to relax my trust issues with technology that took over some of the driving duties.

        As mentioned in the article, I spent two days and nearly 900 miles using Super Cruise. After day 1, I was thinking “this would have been so cool on my road trips earlier this summer,” and asking “when will something like this become available with other manufacturers?”

        1. Where were you Derek Mau, when 4 wheel steering was on the Sierra Denali? People like Kris who cant truly try something for what it is, is why ideas fail. Now GM has to figure out how to inform there customers properly or these great ideas die. Same thing happened to Quadrasteer, not enough people understood the benefits and just cursed about what they knew nothing about. How do you fix that?

          1. Cadillac realizes they have some work ahead of them getting the word out on the positive benefits of Super Cruise. Thus, they have re-thought their approach to dealer and customer training of this new feature. Expect a more intense education effort from Cadillac.

            1. Had they done that with quadrasteer I could buy a Sierra Denali right now that could actually park like a small SUV, instead I may buy a regular cab short wheel base pickup just for the reason of convenient parking abilities. Without quadsteer the Denali is not a luxury truck, it is a pain in the ass to park and its cumbersome to drive, really frustrating that trucks get the leftovers in this case.

              My understanding with quadsteer is that the salesman at GM killed it as one of the reasons. Even they shunned it before trying it, so of course the customers run from it and the salesman makes a sale because he kept the cost below the competition when they should have argued that the competition does not offer these luxuries.

              From what I read it is an education problem and an advertising problem; is why great ideas die, due to public perception, especially when your own sales people kill it. The luxury, safety, agility and capability that quadrasteer offered on a truck is not equalled by any other factory option on a truck today and yet it died off. So ridiculous.

    2. Yes Because driving is so hard and putting your hands on the steering wheel is even harder between driver aids and hands free this and that Americans are way to lazy just drive the damn car.

      1. To funny and very true. my opinion is this will drive up DUI’s some idiots are going to have the defense that I was not driving technically.

    3. It’s funny that Cadillac is bringing all this out considering they’ve just been ranked one of the worst luxury car manufacturers in the world and some of the least reliable vehicles although they are gorgeous.

    4. Hey guys, just wondering what happened to the sales reports for the mid-size sedans and SUV? I just wanted to know because you guys haven’t been posting it for a few months.

    5. So when is Cadilac going to build a truck. They have 4 wheel steering on their cars and yet another option not offered on a luxury truck. Maybe some guy in Texas can force these bias automotive car junkies to think truck instead of car.

      1. Why would they do that waste money when that is the job of GMC with Dinali. That doesn’t make any sense manufacturing wise or moneywise.

        1. Brandon Cadillac is more prestigious than a Denali. Look what Ford did to the F150 Raptor, it is a completely different frame and body panel and that was not wasted money. A Lincoln Pick-Up or a Cadillac Pick-up would not be a waste of money, it would actually define a luxury truck and give the user some prestige over a limited F150 or mocked up Sierra

    6. That’s not the point it makes no sense manufacturing wise it’s a complete waste of money. The last time Cadillac made a truck and they made no money on it, and does anyone remember what it’s called nope they don’t. And when referring to is not the Ford raptor that’s not a luxury truck it’s a sport truck hint “SVT” your thinking of the Lincoln Mark LT which nobody remembers that either or the Lincoln Blackwood nobody remembers that either do you see where this goes. It’s makes no since at all though I’d love to see it

      1. Escalade Ext and it made money. Front reading your posts it seems you like to throw tour opinion around like it’s a fact. It’s ironic because you are wrong more than you’re right.

      2. Brandon they already make a truck. Its called a Cadillac Escalade. You take the 4 wheel steering from their car put it on and add a box. Not hard to do. Easier then building a Raptor and it will be the king of luxury trucks. Who does not want that title. Ram cant answer it and Ford would be pushed into building a Lincoln Navigator with a box as well.

    7. That’s called a gamble gambles usually don’t pay off. again it makes no sense for a Cadillac to do this as they would not make any money off of it. it would not be a high-volume sales vehicle it’s a nice thought but gm doesn’t have money to throw into things that have failed for them multiple times. By the way if you ask gm none of their Cadillac customers have asked for this. just go into any Cadillac dealership they will pull a report on the specific subject except for the report doesn’t exist because none of the customer have asked for it.

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