Cadillac and Tesla have few similarities, despite both being billed as luxury automakers. One manufacturer has been around for well over a century and has built a reputation based on prestige. The other is a newcomer that pushes the limit of utilizing cutting-edge technology in automobiles.
That’s why it comes as a surprise that the old-school American brand has a decisive advantage over Tesla in a particular technological category.
Consumer Reports ranked Cadillac’s Super Cruise driver-assistance systems the best in the automotive industry. Tesla’s Autopilot system finished in second, but it fell 12 points shy of first place.
Many in the automotive world view Tesla as the driving force behind technological advancement and the future of the industry. With this in mind, it’s astonishing that Cadillac is beating Tesla at its own game.
How did Cadillac’s Super Cruise systems become the standard for driver-assist technologies? Let’s take a deeper dive into what Super Cruise offers and how it stacks up against Tesla’s Autopilot systems.
Cadillac continues its legacy of advancement in safety innovation
Automotive safety has come a long way in the past decade. Driver-assistance technologies like automatic emergency braking were relatively new in 2010 and often came as pricey add-ons. Today, rearview cameras are legally required on most vehicles, and many manufacturers include a suite of advanced safety systems as standard equipment.
However, these technologies didn’t sprout up overnight; they have been decades in the making. According to Road & Track, Cadillac made an early attempt at a radar-based crash-avoidance system with its 1959 Cadillac Cyclone concept. However, the car never made it to market.
Nevertheless, Cadillac is still an innovator in advanced safety technologies. Its current Super Cruise systems include vital technologies such as a lane-keeping system, a driver-attention monitor, automatic emergency braking, and more.
This suite of advanced tech earned a 69/100 in Consumer Reports’ analysis. Meanwhile, the publication gave Tesla’s Autopilot systems a score of 57/100.
Cadillac and Tesla go head-to-head
Branded names like Super Cruise and Autopilot can be extremely misleading to uninformed consumers. These safety networks aren’t the autonomous self-driving systems that futurists have hypothesized will become the norm decades from now.
While these features do offer some forms of driving assistance, Super Cruise and Autopilot are not meant to control the vehicle independently of the driver. Instead, these systems exist to keep driver awareness at peak levels, reduce stress/fatigue, and to prevent a crash or mitigate damage.
For all intents and purposes, Tesla just may be the leader in the industry when it comes to working toward autonomous driving. Consumer Reports noted that Tesla’s lane-keeping assist system performed the best in its tests. The publication measured this by how well the function kept the car in the middle of its lane and how well the adaptive cruise control system kept pace and distance with the vehicle ahead.
However, Cadillac held a superior edge in monitoring the driver’s behavior and awareness. Super Cruise utilizes cameras that track the driver’s eyes to see if they are looking at the road or if they are distracted. If the motorist is disengaged, Super Cruise will activate warning lights on the steering wheel to alert the driver. Further measures, such as automatically slowing down or stopping the vehicle, will occur if the driver remains unresponsive.
These factors contributed to Cadillac’s 7/10 score in Consumer Reports’ driving engagement ratings. Meanwhile, Tesla only earned a score of 3/10 in this category.
The final verdict
Self-driving cars are a long way away, but the advancement in driver-assistance technologies shouldn’t be overlooked. Cadillac and Tesla are leading the industry, and for now, Super Cruise sets the bar for what every automaker should be trying to achieve.