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Cadillac Super Cruise Beats Tesla Autopilot by a Margin, but It’s Not All Bad

For the third year in a row, Consumer Reports is delivering a report on active driving assistance systems (ADAS) available in today’s cars. Whereas the first year included only a handful of vehicles, the 2020 report looked at 17 vehicles in total and ranked them one against the other.
Cadillac Super Cruise ranks first in CR report, with Autopilot second 7 photos
Consumer Reports ranks 17 ADAS for safety, performance and capabilities, and ease of useConsumer Reports ranks 17 ADAS for safety, performance and capabilities, and ease of useConsumer Reports ranks 17 ADAS for safety, performance and capabilities, and ease of useConsumer Reports ranks 17 ADAS for safety, performance and capabilities, and ease of useConsumer Reports ranks 17 ADAS for safety, performance and capabilities, and ease of useConsumer Reports ranks 17 ADAS for safety, performance and capabilities, and ease of use
The ranking was done on considerations of safety, ease of use, capabilities and performance. An important consideration was also driver monitoring, which prevents what the NHTSA calls “automation complacency,” or what we all know as the completely reckless decision of letting the car drive itself.

Consumer Reports begins its presentation by highlighting the fact that ADAS don’t make cars self-driving. It also ignores the level of automation claimed by the carmaker, and focuses only on actual capabilities and real-life performance in order to determine the ranking.

That said, Cadillac’s Super Cruise, tested on a Cadillac CT6, came first for the second time since 2018. Tesla’s Autopilot, tested on a Model Y, came in at a “distant” second, with the tipping point being the fact that it offers little in terms of driver monitoring aside from the fact that it requires constant torque on the wheel. Comparatively, Super Cruise uses a driver-facing camera to track the driver’s gaze and proceeds to issue a series of alerts if it notices the driver is not paying attention to the road, before eventually pulling over to safety.

“Even with new systems from many different automakers, Super Cruise still comes out on top due to the infrared camera ensuring the driver’s eyes are looking toward the roadway,” Kelly Funkhouser, CR’s head of connected and automated vehicle testing, explains. Super Cruise totaled 69 points out of 100, while Autopilot scored 57.

That said, it’s not all bad news for Tesla. In terms of capability and performance, Tesla came out on top, with a solid 9 out of 10. Autopilot also scored the highest in terms of ease of use, with 7 out of 10.

In the end, it was driver monitoring that doomed Tesla – and where it should look to next for improvement.

“Automakers also need to realize that the more capable they develop a system in terms of driver assistance, the greater the chances are that the driver might tune out and try to leave the driving to the car,” Funkhouser explains. “That’s why driver monitoring is so critical, and should be an essential tool of any good active driving assistance system going forward.”

Translation: don't trust humans to read the fine print or pay attention to vague recommendations to keep paying attention to the road. 



 
 
 
 
 

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