Cadillac Planning To Upgrade Super Cruise For 2020 Models To Compete With Tesla’s Autopilot

Over-the-air updates will continue to add features, say engineers

2018 Cadillac CT6
[Photo: Cadillac]

Self-driving technology may soon get another boost from Cadillac.

Right now, Tesla’s Autopilot is basking in the spotlight, as CEO Elon Musk spoke of a new chip that may be the heart of the technology’s future. Now, General Motors is responding by rolling out upgrades to Cadillac’s Super Cruise system. According to The Verge, there will be more to come starting in 2020.

Two Cadillac engineers sat down to lay out how Super Cruise will roll out to future models. Like Autopilot, drivers can engage the system on the highway for a less stressful, hands-off driving experience. It uses cameras and radar, as well as navigation data fed by LIDAR mapping on divided roads. However, it’s not a completely detached affair — an infrared camera monitors to driver to ensure they aren’t taking their eyes off the road.

Super Cruise as it currently exists has more limitations, as well. It can’t make lane changes on its own, nor does it cope well with split lanes. However, Cadillac’s engineers explained that is not always going to be the case. “We have over-the-air re-flash capability and you’ll continue to see us add features and capabilities to Super Cruise going forward.”

2020 Cadillac CT5 Premium Luxury

Expanding across Cadillac’s lineup

Up until this point, the only car to feature Super Cruise is the Cadillac CT6. As the brand rolls out new models like the CT5, it will continue to expand across the brand. Eventually, it may end up in General Motors’ other brands as well. The CT5 houses the same sort of hardware that’s currently in the CT6, like front-facing radar as well as a host of 360-degree cameras. Engineers are considering more options for the next generation of Super Cruise, as well as improving the flaws in the current system.

One area where Cadillac’s system needs to improve is reading road signs and traffic signals. Right now, the system only works on limited-access, divided highways. As the company rolls out new hardware and over-the-air updates, the hope is to accommodate surface street traffic conditions. Things like road signs, construction and closer encounters with other cars all pose challenges.

GM subsidiary Cruise Automation is also working on improvements in self-driving technology. Like Tesla, it aims to bring out autonomous robotaxis starting this year. The service will only be available in San Francisco, for now.