We tried Tesla Autopilot and Cadillac Super Cruise in the same week - here's what it was like
Tesla's system has been around longer (it debuted in 2015) and uses cameras, radars, sonar, and GPS navigation. In particular, the camera-based visual technology demands that each vehicle with the latest Tesla hardware also contains supercomputer-level processing power, so that it can crunch all the data.
Cadillac's Super Cruise, arriving in late 2017, also uses cameras, notably a small unit mounted on the steering column that monitors whether the driver is paying adequate attention . The cameras that manage actually driving the car are aimed at the road and surroundings, however, and are matched with a radar system. But critically, Cadillac also makes use of 130,000 miles of laser-radar (Lidar) maps, and as long they're current, the vehicle can determine exactly where it is.Both systems are essentially adaptive-cruise control - which calibrates distances between cars and adjusts throttle and braking accordingly - plus automatic steering. They're far from the dream of affordable full autonomy.
I was lucky in that I got to try them both out recently, although it wasn't planned. I sampled Super Cruise in a Cadillac CT6 sedan on a drive from New York City to Washington, DC and Tesla's Autopilot in a Model X on a jaunt from New Jersey to rural Maryland. (The Caddy drive was a manufacturer event, while the Tesla trip was the result of Tesla letting me borrow a vehicle for a few days.)
Which performed better? Read on.
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