Wednesday, 26 September 2012


Cadillac Testing "Super Cruise" Control Technology
By Norman Chan on April 23, 2012

The plan is for this semi-autonomous technology to make it into cars by mid-decade

Fully-autonomous cars, like the ones Google is currently testing, are still years away from shuttling you from your home to the office in a daily commute. Technology that's more likely to make it into a car you can buy soon are enhancements to the car's sensors and existing autonomous capabilities, such as cruise control. That's exactly what Cadillac is currently testing with what it calls "Super Cruise" technology, which is essentially the merging of two autonomous features: adaptive cruise control and lane centering. Adaptive cruise control (also known as intelligent cruise control), is already in cars on the road today. These production cars employ either laser or radar-based sensors to detect the distance of other vehicles ahead of you on the freeway. When you get too close to an object, adaptive cruise control slows your car down, even all the way to a full stop.

For lane centering, forward-looking cameras are used to detect and recognize lane makers on the road, collaborating with GPS data to anticipate curves or other road characteristics. When combined, adaptive cruise control and lane centering will let you take your hand off the steering wheel for limited periods of time, until sensor data from either system becomes unreliable to function properly. Test drive reports seem impressed with the current implementation on closed test tracks, too. This video shows Super Cruise in action, though not at the speeds you would find on a typical US freeway. And while autonomous car technology may let you take your hands off the the steering wheel, the idea is never to take your mind off the driving experience (in fact, I would pay even more attention to the road if I wasn't directly in control).

GM is positioning Super Cruise as a safety feature for evading hazardous situations caused by bad drivers, and hopes to get it into Cadillacs by mid-decade. But first, states will have to pass legislation to regulate the rules for robotic cars. Nevada is the only state to currently have such laws, and California is next on the list to get autonomous car standards passed.

The Google Cruiser

Legally blind man tests Google's self-driving car

In this Google promotional video for its self-driving car project, Steve Mahan, a Santa Clara man who is 95% blind, becomes the first public test driver for the autonomous Prius. Mahan rode the car along a pre-planned route, but it was able to navigate intersections and observe traffic rules during transit.