Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: February 2, 2018
I have test driven and spent quite a number of hours behind the wheel of the Cadillac CT6 - you can read more of my thoughts here, but what we really want to focus on this review is Super Cruise, a term that encapsulates Cadillac’s bold and audacious move into semi-autonomous driving.
New for 2018 and standard on all CT6 Platinum models, Super Cruise is essentially a hands-free driving system that allows you to cruise on the highway without having to touch the steering wheel or the pedals for an infinite amount of the time - there are restrictions of course. With the assistance of LiDar maps (mapped over 80,000 km of roadways in Canada) cameras, sensors, and GPS, the system can triangulate your position and work to keep it within the lane markings. It does so impeccably and almost flawlessly on highways, even when the road begins to wind.
This differs from other Adaptive Cruise Control systems that are not limited to highways like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but need a tug on the steering wheel every minute or so to show that you are still paying attention to the road. Some will annoyingly ping you with beeps if you take your hands off the wheel for too long, but the CT6 truly is hands-free, and Cadillac’s marketing team actually tells you to take your hands off the wheel, sit back, and relax.
One catch with Super Cruise is that it only works on larger highways with clear dividers between opposing lanes. You can actually check out which highways have been mapped by Cadillac and support the Super Cruise function by clicking here.
Of course you can only imagine how skeptical I was when I first heard about Super Cruise. This is the inaugural Cadillac debuting with this semi-autonomous technology as well, leading to more doubt of it working properly. My journey started at the GM Plant in Oshawa, where I picked up the CT6 and learned how it worked. Activating Super Cruise is all very simple, almost surprisingly so. Simply turn on Adaptive Cruise Control via the steering wheel, wait for the cameras to detect the lanes, and watch the gauges as the Super Cruise icon lights up green, as well as the LED light bar on the wheel. Then you are ready to go - simply let your hands off the wheel and leave it to its own devices.
For the majority of drivers, leaving total steering control to a computer does not come as second nature. Trust is still an issue and despite having seat time in other semi-autonomous cars, I still hesitated fully letting go of the wheel, hovering over it like a helicopter mom. After a few minutes and some unnerving curves, I started to trust the system, especially since the roads were dry and the lane markings on the 401 were clearly visible. Cadillac made it easy to rely on Super Cruise with that wide green bar, indicating that the computer was in control. You will never second guess who is taking the helm. If Super Cruise wants to deactivate, you will know via visible and audible warnings, including seat vibrations. They might as well release a stink bomb through the vents while they are at it.
Just because you have your hands off the wheel does not mean you can start reclining your seat for some shuteye. See that little stub right above the steering column? That is an infrared camera that uses patented algorithms to monitor your eyes, nose, and ears (the latter two are if you are wearing sunglasses). Feel like you are being watched? Well, you are. Look away from the road and the cameras will sense it, and flash warning lights accordingly within a few seconds. The faster you’re going, the less time you’re allowed to look away. So put that phone away.
Skepticism turned into confidence an hour later, and I gave the CT6 full custody to guide me west along the highway until I reached the Don Valley Parkway going north. Super Cruise does not change lanes for you like the Mercedes system, nor does it recognize on-ramps or off-ramps, so be prepared to take hold of the wheel yourself when exiting. Frankly, after an hour of “not driving”, it almost felt weird taking back control. It just goes to show how comfortable and reliant on the system I became.
I encountered a bit of light traffic on the highway trip north, and this is where I think Super Cruise also shines: in stop and go traffic. Though it does not vary differently from other Adaptive Cruise Control systems out there, having the CT6 take care of everything from the gas and brake pedal to the steering, really cuts down the mundaneness and drain from the morning traffic commute. I even felt less road rage and more relaxed with this electronical chauffeur taking the helm.
It almost goes without saying that Super Cruise does not activate when the radars and cameras are covered with snow and slush. Furthermore, Cadillac warns against using it in construction zones and tunnels, or areas where lane markings are visibly poor. It also does not steer to avoid safety situations such as a oncoming vehicle, but it does come with certain safety features to mitigate that risk like autonomous emergency braking.
Our Chief Editor, Sammy Chan, had the opportunity to pilot the CT6 for a three-hour trek from Toronto to Detroit for the North American International Auto Show earlier this month, and said it was one of his most relaxing road trips. He even had a thorough massage courtesy of the front and rear seats, and emerged on the other side of the wall, I mean border, fresh and awake. And while Cadillac and other automakers still have a long way to go until full automation, Super Cruise impressed us with its simplicity, well defined boundaries of use, and overall confidence boost to the future of automated driving, though it may only appeal to a select few who frequent highways and long distance journeys, provided they fall within the mapped routes.
型号 Model: 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum with Super Cruise
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $100,795
試車售價 Price as Tested: $100,795
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 3,109
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,182 / 1,880 / 1,471
引擎 Engine: 3.0L twin turbo V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 404 hp @ 5,700 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 400 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD