“The goal of Super Cruise technology is to increase the comfort of an attentive driver on freeways, both in bumper-to-bumper traffic and on long road trips…”
“Take me home Super Cruise” could be a command that future Cadillac owners may be saying to their automobile, in the not-too-distant future.
GM’s luxury brand seems likely to be first automaker to offer a fully automated driving feature in a production vehicle. Super Cruise is one of three entries vying for the 2015 AJAC Best New Auto Safety Technology Award. A similar entry from Honda called AcuraWatch takes us to the brink of automation and another GM entry will be of interest to those who like to cruise the internet.
GM – Super Cruise
Super Cruise is the working name that GM has given a yet to be released automated driving technology that will (or can) allow hands-off-the-wheel lane following, braking and speed control, in certain highway driving situations. The goal of this technology is to increase the comfort of an attentive driver on freeways, both in bumper-to-bumper traffic and on long road trips.
The claimed safety value of Super Cruise is that it could mitigate many traffic collisions and improve traffic congestion. The system sends and receives basic safety information such as location, speed and direction of travel between vehicles that are approaching each other. It will warn drivers and can supplement active safety features, such as forward collision warning, already available on many production cars.
Super Cruise will also add a new lane-centering technology that relies on forward-looking cameras and other sensors to detect markings, curves and other road characteristics. It will also use a series of alerts to communicate with the driver based on human factor research conducted on test tracks.
A simulator is also being used to measure driver eye glance behavior and control interactions in computer-generated automated driving situations.
A combination of radar, ultrasonic sensors, cameras and GPS map data are used by Super Cruise to provide 360 degrees of crash risk detection bubble around the vehicle and enhanced driver assist features. Super Cruise is still undergoing real-world driving assessments and is expected to make its way into Cadillac production models in 2017.
Honda/Acura – AcuraWatch
A system that takes vehicle operation to the brink of automation, AcuraWatch is a suite of driver-assist technologies that’s offered in the Technology and Elite editions of the new Acura TLX.
An interesting new tech included in this package is the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow (LSF). Unlike other systems of this ilk, it uses both grille-mounted (millimeter-wave) radar and a windshield mounted camera to monitor and maintain a preset vehicle speed and following distance interval to the vehicle directly ahead.
The Low-Speed Follow feature is designed primarily for use in stop and go traffic. If the vehicle ahead slows to a stop, the TLX will also come to a stop. If the vehicle ahead then moves within 3 seconds, the TLX will automatically resume Low-Speed Follow mode. If the vehicle ahead does not move within 3 seconds, then the driver can resume Low Speed Follow by pressing the “RES” switch up or down, or by taping the gas pedal.
Other systems included in the AcuraWatch package include Multi-Angle Rearview Camera and Cross Traffic Monitor, Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Road Departure Mitigation and Blind Spot Information.
GM – 10th Generation OnStar
A 10th generation of GM’s OnStar telematics system with 4G LTE has been rolled out in most of its 2015 model year vehicles. It basically turns the vehicle into a WiFi hotspot that allows occupants to connect up to seven personal devices (smartphones, laptops, tablets etc.) and have them work just like they do at home.
The 4GLTE feature also enhances OnStar’s array of safety and security services and provides a more personal experience as the OnStar agent can stay on the line as they manage the vehicle data interface. A new addition is remote diagnostic, which provides a customer with a monthly health status on their vehicle and it can also assist with arranging a maintenance appointment.
A clever smartphone app, called OnStar RemoteLink Key Fob Services, allows an owner to lock or unlock doors, activate the horn and lights, and remotely start a properly-equipped vehicle. It’s included free for five years. OnStar is standard in all 2015 GM vehicles and advisors currently respond to approximately 185,000 calls every day.
All three technologies are competing for the 2015 AJAC Best New Auto Safety Technology Award, which will be announced at the Montreal Auto Show on January 15, 2015.