The prospect of self-driving cars is something that’s really appealing to me, mainly because I can never stop working.
Think of all the time you’ll be saving while connected to your laptop in your car, banging out some work, getting in an extra 20 to 30 minutes while you’re en-route to your destination to add a few more hundred words to that novel you’ve always been meaning to write. Hell, even if you wanted to finally catch up on Stranger Things, it’d be nice to have a little extra time to do you, without having to get on a crumby train or bus line that’s always late and filled with people who smell like sneeze.
They’re also, way, way safer, as evinced by this dude’s Tesla who predicted an accident seconds before it happened and automatically braked, saving him and his fellow passenger’s life.
Futuristic, self-driving technology isn’t just restricted to Elon Musk’s lineup of amazing vehicles. Other manufacturers, like GM, are working on it as well. And with the 2018 Cadillac CT6’s newest “Super Cruise” feature, it looks like true self-driving is upon us.
Meaning hands-free driving. Yes, Tesla has an auto-pilot feature, but it still requires you to keep your hands on the wheel (mostly for safety purposes), but Super Cruise does all of the work for you. So you can hop on the highway, engage the feature and relax.
It all sounds a little too good to be true, but according to Mashable writer Michael Nuñez, it isn’t. He took the car for a spin from Manhattan to Washington D.C. and the four hour trip revealed to him that Super Cruise isn’t just good, it’s pretty damn great.
The sophisticated technology employs GPS, radar sensors, and cameras to find something called “The Blue Line.” Engineers mapped some 160,000 miles to find this “blue line” which basically acts as an invisible track for the car’s tech to find and follow what the dead center of your lane is, basically turning it into a train on a train track.
All of this amazing futurism is activated by simply hitting the green, Super Cruise button while you’re in cruise control. A green light above the steering wheel pops on and the car does all the work for you.
Nuñez says that the car stopped and started in traffic accordingly, even when things got really congested. During the course of his 4 hour journey to the nation’s capitol, he grew comfortable enough to allow the car to just do its thing. And transitioning between self-driving and manual driving mode was seamless.
It’s important to mention that there are different “classes” of self-driving vehicles according to the US Department of Transportation that are rated from 1-5. The higher the number, the more autonomous the car’s robo-driving is. The CT6 is rated at a 3, which means users are still required to intervene when the car prompts them to. If they don’t respond quickly enough to the car’s requests, then the vehicle will turn on its hazard lights and come to a halt.
For Nuñez, Super Cruise basically brought him to DC with minimal input on his behalf. So yes, falling asleep while driving or writing the next great American novel may be interrupted by the car’s input prompts from the user, but the fact that we’re so close to class 5 automation, and being able to drive almost completely hands-free is pretty darn exciting.
What do you think? Awesome advancement? Or terrible accident just waiting to happen?