General Motors Looking to Refine Super Cruise Before 2020 Expansion

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【Summary】More competitors are coming out with semi-autonomous systems, and GM is gearing up its own Super Cruise system to make sure it’s competitive.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jun 07, 2019 5:00 AM PT
General Motors Looking to Refine Super Cruise Before 2020 Expansion

Semi-autonomous systems are finally starting to come to more mainstream vehicles. Tesla recently updated its Autopilot system to be better than ever, Nissan is increasing the number of vehicles that come with ProPilot Assist, and German automakers, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, all have systems that take some aspect of driving away. General Motors' Super Cruise might not be as well known as some other semi-autonomous systems out there, but the American automaker is looking to thoroughly update the system before it spreads to other vehicles in 2020.

Super Cruise Expanding To More Cadillacs

At the New York Auto Show, Cadillac unveiled the 2020 CT5, which is the second vehicle to come with the brand's Super Cruise system. The Verge sat down with some of Cadillac's engineers to get a better idea of Super Cruise and the changes GM will make to the system.

The current Super Cruise configuration, which is only available on the CT6, will be updated for the 2020 model year. The current system will be upgraded via an "over-the-air re-flash" that will expand Super Cruise's features and capabilities, said Brandon Vivian, executive chief engineer for Cadillac. On the CT6, Super Cruise is only available on certain miles of highways, so adding another dimension by expanding where drivers can use the system is a possibility.

While we enjoyed the system during our time with a CT6 a few years ago, recent reports claim that users have had problems in direct sunlight. This is an issue Cadillac is looking to work on in the future by looking for different components. "We're looking at camera placement," said Vivian. "We're looking at software enhancements and other ways. We have other sensors that can see when the camera can't see."

More Capabilities, More Vehicles

Other areas Cadillac is looking to improve on include adding the ability for Super Cruise to read road signs and traffic signals. While these are things that other systems already offer, Cadillac is also looking at ways for Super Cruise to be able to get through intersections and work in construction zones. But that's easier said than done.

"As we look at enhancing that capability, we'll continue to find ways that meet our safety criteria," said Vivian. "But these are all enhancements that we're looking at."

In 2020, Cadillac plans to bring Super Cruise to a new vehicle every six months. On that timeline, every vehicle will have the semi-autonomous system by 2021. Slowly adding Super Cruise onto a vehicle is a stark contrast to what companies like Tesla have done, which is introduce the system, sell the system, and then perfect the system using data gathered from real-world users.

Cadillac may be late to the party with Super Cruise, but slowly expanding the system ensures its vehicles are still competitive, while not putting users in danger.

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