MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The race is on to build self-driving vehicles and automakers are one step closer.
There are cars for sale in dealerships that you can drive hands free on the highway. Now automakers are trying to figure out how to make these vehicles fully autonomous.
Cadillac’s Super Cruise puts drivers on the road to the future. Lead engineer Daryl Wilson says it’s the first, truly hands-free driver assistance program on the market.
It only works on highways but the technology steers, brakes, accelerates and turns without any hands on the wheel.
“We went out, mapped every road that we wanted Super Cruise to operate on with a vehicle that laser-scanned the road,” explained Wilson.
Several automakers now offer some kind of driving assist but engineers consider the Super Cruise one of the most advanced, along with Tesla’s autopilot.
The system can control speed and make lane changes but it has also suffered a series of high-profile accidents.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at the Tesla and other semi-autonomous vehicles and found these systems do increase safety, but only if drivers pay attention.
Cadillac’s Super Cruise has a built in infrared camera to make sure drivers are doing just that. A light will start flashing green if the driver is not looking forward.
However, CNET Roadshow Editor-at-Large Brian Cooley says the technology has a long way to go before cars can become fully autonomous.
“It’s not about more sensors. That’s where we get into vehicle-to-vehicle communications. We need cars to be able to tell each other where they are and where they are going in the next few milliseconds,” explained Cooley.
Cadillac is putting vehicle-to-vehicle technology in some cars and in 2023 will offer a feature that notifies drivers of hazards down the road, helping them avoid a potential crash.
Right now, Super Cruise is only available in the CT-6 but Cadillac plans to expand the technology across all Cadillac models in coming years.