There has been quite a lot of news about self-driving vehicles in recent months. Google is currently working on an autonomous car, while BMW is designing a "highly automated" vehicle capable of navigating through traffic.
Now Cadillac has announced a new self-driving vehicle that seems somewhat similar to BMW's approach, with "super cruise" technology that could be ready for the streets by the middle of the decade.
As noted above, Cadillac's technology is semi-autonomous, yet it does boast full automatic steering, braking, and lane centering - allowing automated driving under certain optimal conditions.
Cadillac says the super cruise system will help ease the driver's workload on the freeway in bumper-to-bumper traffic and on long road trips. The platform relies on a number of advanced systems, including radar, ultrasonic sensors, cameras and GPS data.
"Super Cruise has the potential to improve driver performance and enjoyment," explained Cadillac exec Don Butler. "Our goal with advanced technologies, like this and our CUE system, is to lead in delivering an intuitive user experience."
Cadillac says that many of the building blocks for its super cruise tech are already available in the 2013 Cadillac XTS and ATS vehicles as part of the Driver Assist Package. The super cruise system would be able to handle everything for the driver - albeit under certain conditions - such as weather and visibility of lane markings. When visibility is poor, the driver would be responsible for steering. Presumably, that means all the other functions of the system such as speed control would still be available.
Cadillac says the key to its semi-autonomous system is the integration of lane centering technology that uses forward-looking cameras to view markings and GPS data to detect curves along with other road characteristics.
"The primary goal of GM’s autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle development is safety... In the coming years, autonomous driving systems paired with advanced safety systems could help eliminate the crash altogether by interceding on behalf of drivers before they’re even aware of a hazardous situation," GM rep John Capp added.