Cadillac Drops A Super Cruise Upgrade Update

Self-driving cars have been around longer than most people might think, but they were never considered practical enough on a consumer level for manufacturers to go all in until recent years. Five years after its initial release, Cadillac's long-anticipated Super Cruise update will begin adding new features to select models from the luxury automaker this summer, the company has confirmed, one of the biggest upgrades to the hands-free driver assistance tech we've seen so far. The upcoming Super Cruise OTA Vehicle Software Update will be available for three current Cadillac models, though not every vehicle will get the same features.

The headline feature of the upcoming update will be Automatic Lane Change. When it launched back in 2017 on the Cadillac CT6, Super Cruise only operated in a single lane: if you needed to overtake, the system would deactivate and then re-enable once you were centered in the neighboring lane.

Automatic Lane Change means even less hands-on-wheel time

General Motors followed that with an update that added automated lane-changes on demand. That meant the car could switch lanes of its own accord, though the driver is required to initiate the process. After the turn signal is switched on, the car searches for a safe gap — and fast-approaching vehicles — in the lane alongside it, moving over when that space is found.

Most recently, though, enhanced Super Cruise has allowed for Automatic Lane Change. That allows the vehicle to switch lanes of its own accord, as it attempts to keep as close to the set speed as possible. The driver — as is the case at all times with Super Cruise — is still expected to remain aware, attentive, and ready to potentially grab hold of the wheel and retake full control at any time, but it adds a further layer of automation to the Level 2 experience overall.

CT4, CT5 and Escalade all get OTA upgrades

Owners of select model year 2021 Cadillac CT4 and CT5 sedans will get the Automatic Lane Change option as an over-the-air update this summer, the automaker confirmed today. They'll obviously need to have opted for a car with Super Cruise hardware support in the first place; that's not retrofit-supported, unfortunately. It'll also be a paid upgrade, though Cadillac isn't confirming yet just how much it'll cost.

Meanwhile, the model year 2021 Cadillac Escalade with Super Cruise hardware will also get the update, again as a paid upgrade. In addition to Automatic Lane Change, though, it'll get support for Super Cruise Trailering: that augments the system so as to support hands-free driving while towing a boat, camper, or something else.

It's worth noting that the trailering support is not compatible with Automatic Lane Change, and when towing is taking place, the Escalade won't change lanes automatically. GM had previously said that it would begin offering the features from Q1 2022.

Not everyone could get Super Cruise if they wanted it

In total, Cadillac says, there'll be around 12,000 vehicles that are eligible for the new Super Cruise capabilities. The automaker had been constrained with just how many cars and SUVs it could support with the system, after the supply chain shortages forced it to leave Super Cruise off select models. For the Escalade, for example, vehicles built between October and December 2021 were not available with the Super Cruise hardware. From December 6, 2021, meanwhile, Super Cruise was a mandatory upgrade for the luxury SUV.

For those who don't opt to pay for the upgrade this summer, Super Cruise will continue to work as it currently does on their vehicles, Cadillac says. Down the line, meanwhile, Cadillac will be first to launch GM's evolution of the system. Ultra Cruise will expand the hands-free functionality onto city streets, with GM promising more than 2 million miles of coverage in the US and Canada. However, it's not expected to be offered until sometime in 2023.