Welcome to the world of tomorrow. Almost.
Cadillac is developing a semi-autonomous driving system so that you, the “driver,” don’t have to drive. Known as Super Cruise, the system features fully automatic steering, braking and lane-centering in highway driving. It’s like being chauffeured from the driver’s seat.
Cadillac says its goal is to improve driver performance and enjoyment. And that’s an interesting approach, since traditionally, most manufacturers have striven to entertain or reward the driver with a fine driving experience, rather than take driving out of the equation.
“The primary goal of GM’s autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle development is safety,” said John Capp, General Motors director of Global Active Safety Electronics and Innovation. “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.”
The Cadillac Super Cruise system will rely on forward-looking cameras and GPS map data, but will also have operational limitations based on external factors such as weather and visibility of lane markings. Cadillac isn’t the only manufacturer to experiment with self-driving cars. There’s Google, of course, and German supplier Continental just let a Volkswagen Passat drive itself across the country. But Caddy is the first to give a timeframe for when such a system might actually appear in production. The good news for those who can afford it: it’ll hopefully be available by “mid-decade.”