Though driverless cars are making plenty of inroads, it may be awhile yet before people are willing to hand over the keys and let their cars take over entirely. But a few autonomous functions may make the transition smoother. Cadillac is testing lane-detection and automatic braking technology for use on highways, according to General Motors.
This feature, called “Super Cruise,” could be available within a couple years. Model year 2013 Cadillac ATS and XTS sedans already have a new package called Driver Assist, which uses an array of sensors to detect forward and rear obstacles and potentially avert crashes. The cars have lane departure warnings, a head-up display, blind zone alerts, automatic braking capability and more, Cadillac says.Much of this technology forms the basis for Super Cruise, which basically gives the car more responsibility. Moving from simple lane-drift warnings to self-adjusting lane centering tech is the next step, Cadillac says. Future models will have cameras to detect lane markings — which must be pretty bright and distinctive to work — and GPS data to detect and prepare for road curves and obstacles. It may not work when it’s raining or when lane markers are unclear, however.
Combined with the self-centering lane tech and automatic braking, highway commutes could be entirely car-operated. The technology would “lighten the driver’s workload,” as GM put it in a news release. Personally, I don’t consider driving to be a lot of work — I kind of enjoy it — but maybe the typical luxury-car-buyer would find it a plebeian chore.
As we’ve seen before, Cadillac is not the first luxury carmaker to adopt this technology — Mercedes is using cameras, radar and other sensors on some of its vehicles. GM says the highway-driving cars could be available by mid-decade.
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