Meet the first car with Super Cruise technology from Cadillac, the 2018 Cadillac CT6. Super cruise allows your car to drive by itself on select highways. It’s steadier and more precise compared to all other autopilot systems so far designed. Thus this car is undoubtedly a long distance driver’s dream and commuter’s fantasy. Presently, the feature is only available in Cadillac’s luxury Sedan. However, GM plans to roll out the feature in other models as well. It comes as a standard feature on the CT6 platinum version but optional on the premium luxury version.
The Super Cruise Autonomous Mode
From the four-zone HVAC system to a built-in seat massager, CarPlay and Android Auto-compatible infotainment system, the Cadillac CT6 is not only alluring but also quite entertaining. To employ the Super Cruise autonomous mode, you first need to activate the car’s adaptive cruise control.
Once engaged effectively, a white steering wheel icon will show up in the driver’s LCD display if the highway is in the Super Cruise system. Next, center the car in your lane and press on the Super Cruise button adjacent to the adaptive cruise control button.
And, once the LED at the top of your steering wheel turns green, you can let the car drive on its own. While most semi-autonomous pilot systems available out there tend to search for the lanes on the road sometimes even ping-ponging back and forth within the lane, CT6’s Super Cruise never does that. It drives steadily maintaining the lane.
Need for Improvement
In spite of the CT6’s remarkable skills, the Super Cruise can’t perform intricate moves such as changing lanes to outdistance a slower vehicle. You have to take the wheel and do such moves yourself, during which time your steering wheel light will be blue. Once you’ve returned and centered the car to your lane, the steering wheel light turns green and you can let the car drive by itself. Plus, you don’t have to reset your car’s speed.
If you incidentally blocked the car’s camera, the car takes you through a series of warning levels – audible sounds and flashing of steering wheel which ultimately turns red. Abuse the Super Cruise and this will bring the car to a stop right within your lane of travel as the self-driving feature becomes disabled. In such a case, you need to restart the vehicle to enable the Super Cruise feature.
A number of things in the Super Cruise software still need to be updated and improved. For instance, the system needs to display on the car’s dashboard why you’ve received a flashing red-light warning. Sometimes this could be because the car can’t fully recognize its location probably due to roadwork or stormy weather. Other times it could be as a result of temporarily blocking the camera’s view or looking off-road for too long. Currently, you can’t use nav to locate highways compatible with Super Cruise so that you can plan for your trips in favor of such roads. However, Cadillac’s plan to put all presently mapped highways online and incorporate a nav feature on the Cadillac app will be a welcome move.
2018 Cadillac CT6 Tech
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 features a front-facing camera and a video cam. Supplementary cameras mounted on the sides take care of the blind spots while the rear camera system gives you an exceptional, wide-angle view of what’s behind you all the time. Indeed, the camera system at the back gets rid of blind spots at the back as it isn’t confined by a small back window, obstructed by passengers seated at the back or blocked by the rear roof pillars. The resulting image is shown in the rearview mirror thus replacing the usual mirror image.
Unlike most autonomous test cars out there, the CT6 doesn’t feature a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) system. Usually, a LiDAR system gives self-driving vehicles a comprehensive 3D of the road and its environs including lampposts, curbs, etc. Instead, the company makes use of downloaded maps of highways already created for the company with LiDAR. The 2018 Cadillac CT6 comes with remarkable precise reading of your location and what’s ahead of you thanks to the CT6’s built-in GPS, radar and video information. However, according to GM, this car can only detect up to 2, 500 meters ahead. Besides, your Super Cruise won’t work beyond 85 mph.
Driver Attention Detection System
This is another CT6’s Super Cruise important feature. With the help of infrared detectors in the steering wheel and a video cam planted on top of the steering wheel column, the system follows your eye movement, face as well as head position. This system can work day or night and, wearing sunglasses doesn’t obstruct the system’s working. While the car can drive for many hours on approved highways, the Super Cruise is still far from dependable. Thus, you needn’t get drowsy or distracted lest you endanger yourself.
Other Impressive Features
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 comes with more other state-of-the-art features. It features night vision to help avoid deer strikes, an active rear-wheel steering for cornering and a 34-speaker Bose Panaray first-rate audio system. Besides, the car comes with teen-mode driver mode that locks in all the safety systems and lets you monitor your teen’s driving behavior, limit the car’s stereo volume and set its speed alerts.
You’ll find the CT6’s video rearview-mirror system a very handy feature. This is because it presents you with a field of view that is about four times of typical rear mirrors. The video mirror brings to your view vehicles that are not only behind you but also those that are afar. To ensure the image remains clear and in focus, the rear cam features a high-pressure washer system and hydrophobic coating. While chances are that you may not like the reflections on the screen especially on sunny days, the system remains one of the most accurate and handy features on the CT6. Otherwise, if you don’t like the idea of a rear wide-angle view, you can do away with it altogether. Just switch it off and use the car’s standard rearview mirror.
Super Cruise Shortcomings
While Super Cruise is undoubtedly a great feature, it comes with some limitations. First, Super Cruise is only workable in about 130,000 miles of select, specially mapped highways in the US and Canada. For the sake of safety, these highways must be roads without intersections and mapped using vehicles equipped with LiDAR. However, Cadillac says they plan to extend the Super Cruise range by adding more mapped highways.
Secondly, you have to maintain situational alertness. The car watches you to ensure you remain alert in case of an eventuality it can’t handle on its own. For instance, an abrupt diversion will require your intervention. Thus, you should be prepared to retake the car’s control in such eventualities.