Driving a 2021 Cadillac Escalade Blind, Nothing But Onboard Cameras and Sensors

The automotive industry has been focusing a lot in recent years on enhancing driver aids. The point of this effort is to have cars eventually reach self-driving functionality. To do that, however, better and better cameras and sensors have been placed in vehicles. Also, more and more of these devices have been included in a car. Take the new 2021 Cadillac Escalade for example. It has the newest generation of cameras with great resolution sending real-time data to the driver. So, somebody decided to test the new tech on the Escalade by driving solely on the information from the Augmented Reality (AR) Camera System. Yup, they covered all the windows and drove blind around a track with nothing but a display from the cameras and sensors to guide them.

The blind drive of the Cadillac Escalade was surprising

The Escalade is the Cadillac's largest and most luxurious SUV.
2021 Cadillac Escalade | Cadillac

Our friends at The Fast Lane Truck, or TFL, were curious as to how well the camera and sensor systems on a 2021 Cadillac Escalade would work. So, they devised a test involving a bunch of t-shirts, a timer, and of course, an available race track. The goal was to get around the track without incident in their press fleet loaner. 

The experience the gang at TFL had was eye-opening. Surprisingly, the camera data was of very high quality. Also, there is an element of stabilization included with the images that were beaming to the dash. So, if the nose of the Cadillac lifted under acceleration or dove under hard braking, the camera image did not reflect the lift or dive. The image remained centered.

The second lap was about speed

The lap around the track went well enough that the team decided to take the Cadillac Escalade around again for a second lap. This time, the driver was still only using the camera data, but the emphasis was on getting a better lap time. It is important to note here that these are professional drivers on a closed course. Do not try this.

The video of the Cadillac Escalade going around the track is posted below. In it, you will see that there is a rear-seat passenger, as well as the driver and cameraperson. Pay attention to that passenger’s demeanor as the test goes on. 

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There was a bit of disconnect between what the occupants were seeing and what they were feeling. They couldn’t see themselves going into a turn. But, their bodies could feel it. So, that sensory disconnect made them a bit queasy by the end of the two laps. The end result of the blind testing around the track was that the 2021 Cadillac Escalade does have some great display resolution. It was advanced enough that in the unlikely event a person is temporarily blinded, such as a shattered windshield, or a kite that lands on the windshield, there was some confidence that the camera and sensor system would be sufficient enough to get the vehicle safely to a shoulder or parking lot. 

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade

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The newest Escalade features a whole new redesign. The full-size SUV comes with a 6.2-liter V8 powerplant that manages 420 horsepower. It is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Pricing begins at $88,000.