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Cadillac’s Super Cruise system adds 70,000 miles of compatible highway

Cadillac’s Super Cruise driver-assist system allows the car to take over steering, acceleration, and braking on divided highways — but only the ones Cadillac has thoroughly mapped. Now Cadillac is giving owners more room to cruise. The General Motors luxury brand is adding 70,000 miles of Super Cruise-compatible highway in the United States and Canada. Cadillac hopes to have 200,000 miles available by the end of 2019.

Super Cruise is already available on 130,000 miles of North American limited-access highway, according to Cadillac. The system is essentially Cadillac’s equivalent to Tesla Autopilot, but there are some important differences. Super Cruise uses radar, cameras, and lidar to guide the car, but Autopilot lacks lidar. Cadillac also uses a camera to ensure drivers are paying attention. Tesla has no such driver-monitoring system; it relies on sensors detect the driver’s hands on the wheel. That hasn’t been enough to prevent drivers from misusing Autopilot, however.

Driver monitoring is important because systems like Super Cruise and Autopilot still require the driver to be alert and attentive at all times. They don’t make cars self-driving. Cadillac noted that some of the highways on its Super Cruise “network” include intersections and railroad crossings. When the car reaches one, it will alert the driver to take back control.

Super Cruise launched on the 2018 Cadillac CT6, and the big sedan remains the only Cadillac currently available with the system. To get maximum mileage, owners of 2018 and 2019 model-year CT6s will have to take their cars to dealerships for a “system enhancement,” Cadillac said. New map data will then be sent via an over-the-air update in the summer and fall, the automaker said. The update will also include “performance improvements, enhancements to increase Super Cruise availability, and enhancements to the driver attention system,” Cadillac said.

Cadillac claims owners have already driven 2.5 million miles on Super Cruise. The automaker will soon expand availability beyond the CT6, which may not be long for this world. The next Cadillac to get Super Cruise will be the 2020 CT5 sedan, which goes on sale this fall. Cadillac hasn’t officially stated this, but photos of the V-Series performance version of the upcoming CT4 sedan show Super Cruise’s telltale steering wheel light bar, indicating that the smaller sedan will get the system as well. GM previously said it would add Super Cruise to all Cadillac models by 2020, and then expand it to other brands.

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