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What we're driving: Cadillac CT6 with Super Cruise technology

Image of Cadillac CT6 with Super Cruise hands-off highway driving system
The green light bar and icons tell the driver Super Cruise is engaged. Photo: Cadillac

This week I'm driving the 2019 Cadillac CT6 with Super Cruise, GM's automated highway-driving technology.

Why it matters: Ignore the fact that GM recently announced plans to kill the CT6 sedan in favor of more popular crossovers and SUVs. What's important is that the Super Cruise technology will live on in all new Cadillacs starting in 2020. Plus, Cadillac will be GM's high-tech EV brand, starting in 2021.

How it works: Super Cruise is a partially automated system that allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals for long stretches of highway driving, as long as they stay alert.

  • It combines adaptive cruise control and lane-centering technology to drive hands-free on pre-mapped interstate highways.
  • To activate, the driver turns on adaptive cruise control, then waits for the Super Cruise steering wheel icon on the instrument panel to illuminate.
  • Then the driver pushes the Super Cruise button on the steering wheel, which causes the icon to turn green and a green light bar to appear in the steering wheel, signaling it's safe to let go of the wheel.
  • Unlike other systems like Tesla's Autopilot, a camera mounted on the steering column monitors the driver's attention — if they look away for too long, the light bar will flash and the seat will vibrate.
  • Repeated warnings will result in Super Cruise being locked out.

My thought bubble: I was anxious to try Super Cruise again after a moderately frightening experience more than a year ago when the car got confused and lurched to the left and back again when it couldn't find the lane markings as I began to drive across a bridge.

What we're seeing: This time, it performed brilliantly on my trip to Detroit Metro Airport to pick up my sister. She was surprised when I took my hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals, but relaxed in no time.

  • What really impressed her (and me) was the way Super Cruise handled congestion through a construction zone where the lanes got narrow.
  • I never touched the controls, and the car slowed to a complete stop then rolled along until traffic cleared and it resumed the set speed of 66 mph.

The bottom line: Consumer Reports rated Super Cruise better than automated driving systems from Tesla, Nissan and Volvo because it’s the only one that includes a camera inside the car to monitor driver attentiveness.

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