Teslais a key player when it comes to automated driving, but according to one major study, their driving assistance system has some catching up to do. Surprisingly, the driving assistance offered by Cadillac’s Super Cruise is the best on the market.
Read on to learn more about active driving assistance, find out why Cadillac is being praised, and if you are in the market for a new car, don’t forget to
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What is driving assistance technology?
Driving assistance is a new technology, designed to support the driver on long highway trips or in slow moving traffic. Essentially, it should relieve driver fatigue and improve safety when there is a high risk of the driver becoming distracted or zoning out.
The driver is still responsible for operating the vehicle, but lane keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control helps to stay in the center of the lane, and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles.
Driving assistance is not the same as having a self-driving car, but it is playing a role in the evolution of autonomous vehicle technology.
How to assess driving assistance systems
Assessing the quality of each automaker’s driving assistance tech is a daunting task. All manufacturers claim to have impressive safety features backed by cutting edge technology.
Consumer Reportshave completed an extensive study into the performance of 17 competing systems. They tested these cars on a test center track, as well as on public roads. Each was rated for its performance in the following five categories:
- Capability and performance
- Keeping the driver engaged
- Ease of use
- Clear when safe to use
- Unresponsive driver
The best and worst driving assistance systems
When it comes to capability and performance, Consumer Reports determined that Tesla has the best lane keeping assistance, with Cadillac just behind. A good system helped keep the car in the center of the lane with minimal driver intervention. Buick and Mazda scored poorly, only attempting to center the car as it drifted into another lane.
When it comes to keeping the driver engaged, Cadillac’s Super Cruise system was the clear winner. It uses a small camera, pointed toward the driver’s eyes, to determine when a driver is looking away from the road. If the system thinks you aren’t paying enough attention, the steering wheel will begin to flash red. Cadillac is also praised for making it clear when the driving assistance is disengaging and you need to assume full control.
Tesla scored well for ease of use, which is of critical importance when talking about active driving assistance. Tesla employs a single lane keeping system that is in keeping with what drivers expect. Consumer Reports criticised most of the other vehicles, and especially Honda and Toyota, for having "needlessly complex interaction of multiple systems on the same vehicle."
Active driving assistance is currently designed for highway driving, or for when you are stuck in a traffic jam. They are not safe on narrow roads or near unpredictable hazards like cyclists or pedestrians. With this in mind, Cadillac won the clear when safe to use category. Cadillac’s Super Cruise technology can only be used on pre-mapped, divided highways, and will warn the driver well in advance of scenarios that require more attention.
Finally, Consumer Reports evaluated the cars for how they react to an unresponsive driver and yet again, Cadillac is miles ahead of the competition. If the built-in camera determines you are not paying attention and have not reacted to the many clear and loud warnings, your car will automatically slow to a stop and call for help.
Mazda and Land Rover scored badly, as their systems can go into standby mode without an audible warning. As a result, a sleeping driver could fail to wake before the car drifts into trouble.
Cadillac and Tesla’s tech on top
Here are the final rankings from Consumer Report’s study into driving assistance systems:
- Cadillac Super Cruise = 69/100
- Tesla Autopilot = 57/100
- Lincoln/Ford Co-Pilot 360 = 52/100
- Audi Pre Sense = 48/100
- Hyundai Smart Sense, Kia Drive Wise = 46/100
- Mercedes-Benz Driver Assistance = 46/100
- Subaru EyeSight = 46/100
- BMW Active Driving Assistance Pro = 44/100
- Porsche Active Safe = 41/100
- Volvo Pilot Assist = 41/100
- Honda Sensing, AcuraWatch = 40/100
- Nissan/Infiniti ProPILOT Assist = 40/100
- Toyota/Lexus Safety Sense 2.0 = 40/100
- Volkswagen Driver Assistance = 39/100
- Land Rover Incontrol = 38/100
- Buick/Chevy Driver Confidence = 36/100
- Mazda i-ACTIVSENSE = 27/100
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