Development of “Super Cruise,” Cadillac’s semi-automated driving system, is advancing to the next stage of development, including real-world driving assessment and trials. Cadillac projects this technology could make its way into production models later this decade.
Research and development in active safety has already resulted in advancements on the road today in Cadillac’s new 2013 models, including the innovative Safety Alert Seat and Driver Awareness and Driver Assist features.
In this next phase of development, engineers will drive Super Cruise vehicles in more and more challenging driving situations to test the system in a wide variety of environments to help refine it.
“As we continually upgrade Super Cruise’s enabling technologies, it is important to expose the updated system to different environments,” said Jeremy Salinger, R&D manager for Super Cruise. “The best way to achieve reliable performance is to gather as much data as possible in the conditions our customers will experience.”
Super Cruise is capable of semi-automated driving including hands-off lane following, braking and speed control under certain driving conditions. The system is designed to ease the driver’s workload on freeways only, in bumper-to-bumper traffic and on long road trips; however, the driver’s attention is still required.
Cadillac’s Super Cruise test vehicles use a fusion of radar, ultrasonic sensors, cameras and GPS map data, seamlessly integrated for a near-production appearance.
Super Cruise’s development to date has included system testing on closed courses and in a driving simulator, as well as limited driving on real roads. When GM finishes testing the system, it expects to have accumulated hundreds of thousands of miles of driving in various environments, such as day and night driving and a variety of weather and traffic conditions.
Even when Super Cruise becomes available on production vehicles, driver attention will be required because the system will have operational limitations based on external factors such as traffic, weather and visibility of lane markings. When reliable data is not available, such as when there are no lane markings, the system will prompt the driver to resume steering.
“Super Cruise is designed to give the driver the ability of hands-free driving when the system determines it is safe to do so,” said John Capp, GM director of Global Active Safety Electronics and Innovation. “Before we introduce this capability on a production vehicle we must put the system through rigorous testing and technology refinement.”
Many of the building block technologies for Super Cruise are already available on the all-new 2013 Cadillac XTS and ATS luxury sedans, as part of the available Driver Assist Package. It is the first Cadillac system to use sensor fusion to provide 360 degrees of crash risk detection and enhanced driver assist features.
Super Cruise semi-automated driving capability also adds the integration of lane-centering technology that relies on forward-looking cameras to detect lane markings and other sensors to detect curves and other road characteristics. Super Cruise will also use a series of alerts to communicate with the driver based on human factors research conducted on test tracks and in GM R&D’s 360-degree motion-based driving simulator specifically designed to induce realistic driver behaviors. Researchers used the simulator to measure driver eye glance behavior and control interactions in computer-generated automated driving situations.
Human factors studies provide increased understanding of how vehicle system design impacts the driver. Conducting tests in a simulator allows for evaluation of technological solutions, such as the driver alert steering wheel and monitoring systems, long before production.
“Drivers may be tempted to engage in secondary tasks during semi-automated driving, and we need to make sure we understand the changing conditions,” said Daniel Glaser, GM Safety Center engineering specialist. “In our simulator studies we are developing techniques to manage secondary task behavior to assist in our development of techniques for the road.”