By Jennifer Geiger on April 20, 2012
Cadillac is taking the meaning of cruise control to new levels. The automaker is testing "Super Cruise," a semi-autonomous driving technology.
Super Cruise uses radar, ultrasonic sensors, forward- and rear-facing cameras and GPS map data to guide the car. Cadillac says input from these systems allow for fully automatic steering, braking and lane-centering on the highway.
But do we need cars that drive themselves? The state of Nevada thinks so. It recently became the first state to create regulations for companies interested in testing self-driven cars on public roads. GM partnered with the Federal Highway Administration to conduct a study about the need for such technology. Some study participants answered that it’d be a nice convenience to have a self-driving vehicle on long trips, with lane-centering and full-speed range-adaptive cruise control especially helpful.
"The primary goal of GM's autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle development is safety. 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," said John Capp, GM director of Global Active Safety Electronics and Innovation, in a statement.
This isn't the first time GM has explored autonomous cars: In 2007, it worked with Carnegie Mellon University on a Chevrolet Tahoe that drove itself. Called the Boss, the Tahoe was able to drive through 60 miles of urban traffic on its own. Cadillac said its latest system could be ready for production vehicles by mid-decade.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer