Hands-Free, Semi-Autonomous Driving from... Cadillac??
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 will be the first car to offer true hands-free drivingby Robert Moore, on
Self-driving cars are coming. There’s no way around it, and come 2018, you’ll be able to get a Cadillac that lets you go truly hands-free. This new technology is being called “Super Cruise” and uses lidar map data along with onboard radar sensors, cameras, and GPS to navigate most limited-access highways in the U.S. and Canada. When activated on a road that is determined to be safe for use, drivers of the 2018 Cadillac CT6 Prestige will be able to take their hands off of the wheel, and the car will navigate the highway on its own – just like Tesla does. But, there’s a twist.
See, while Tesla’s AutoPilot system uses steering wheel feedback to determine if the driver is paying attention, GM took another big step towards the big-brother mindset. You won’t need to keep your hands on the wheel because the car will keep tabs on you via a small camera built into the top of the steering wheel. To be more specific, the camera system, which uses infrared light, will monitor the driver’s head position to determine when the driver is looking while the system is activated. This is what makes Super Cruise “more technologically advanced” than other systems currently available.
Should the system determine that the driver isn’t paying attention, it will issue a mild prompt to tell the driver to pay attention. If that doesn’t work, there are other visual alerts (light bar on the steering wheel and instrument cluster) and tactile alerts from the driver’s seat. If that doesn’t get your eyes back on the road, the CT6 will bring the car to a controlled stop and even contact OnStar so that it can alert first responders, if necessary.
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Why it matters
So, here’s the deal. This system is a bit more advanced in the effect that it uses a camera to monitor the driver’s head position. But, it does leave one to wonder if it will notice someone sleeping with their head in the upright position. Either way, the system’s functionality will be limited to your basic interstates – you know, highways with dedicated on- and off-ramps. Apparently, that Lidar map data is top notch as well – If the PR talk from GM is to be believed. As the story goes, Engineers mapped every mile of highway in the U.S. and Canada in preparation for this system. That’s a pretty bold feat, to say the least, but the real question is: Are we really ready for autonomous technology to go hands-free and beyond?
The truth is, I’m not a fan of the technology in any way, shape, or form. All of this GPS technology and cameras makes it easy for you to be tracked by anyone who wishes to do so. On top of that, with internet connections being available on most new models, it’s only a matter of time before your vehicle can be shutdown, on the fly, for breaking even the smallest law. Not that I encourage speeding or driving erratically, but I’d prefer to control my car and the speed I decide to travel myself. I’m honestly more concerned about trusting self-driving systems designed by automakers who are constantly recalling vehicles for safety-related issues.
But, what do you think? Is this a good move for Cadillac, or is it still too early? Am I concerned a little too much about big brother and/or letting the machine take over driving? Feed me your thoughts in the comments section below.