A Cadillac Super Cruise subscription will cost drivers $25 per month after the initial bundled hands-free driver assistance service expires, the automaker has confirmed. Launched on the Cadillac CT6, Super Cruise doesn’t make the luxury sedan “self driving” but it does remove one of the lingering annoyances of most adaptive cruise control with lane keeping systems.
In most vehicles that offer such an advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS), there’s an expectation that drivers will keep their hand on the wheel. A sensor – usually tracking torque, or turning force on the steering wheel, but in select cases using capacitive sensors to track touch – monitors to make sure at least one hand is there, so as to guarantee that the vehicle operator is poised to take over should the ADAS itself be forced to disengage.
Super Cruise, though, uses an eye-tracking infrared camera mounted on the steering column. Assuming you’re looking ahead at the road with sufficient frequency, the CT6 will maintain pace with traffic, slow if vehicles ahead brake, and keep its position in the center of the lane. That is, assuming you’re on the divided, limited-access highways that Cadillac has mapped beforehand.
Until recently, our biggest complaint with Super Cruise was how few cars you could actually get it on. Cadillac aims to change that soon, with the new CT5 and CT4 sedans, and the upcoming new Escalade, before other GM family vehicles get to use the system as well. However the realization in August that Super Cruise was in fact subscription-based, not a lifetime option, gave us something else to be frustrated by.
Early adopters of the first CT6 models with Super Cruise will be notified by Cadillac that their service is set to expire, it was reported, as it was in fact part of the three year OnStar trial bundled with new vehicles. OnStar – GM’s connected support service – is required, since Super Cruise uses it to deliver mapping updates to the car. The CT6 can also summon OnStar support if the driver is unresponsive to the signals given by the light bar integrated into the steering wheel, which Super Cruise uses to communicate when the driver should retake manual control.
What wasn’t clear in August was how much Super Cruise subscriptions might actually cost. The OnStar site indicated Super Cruise support would require at least the “Unlimited Access” plan, at $24.99 per month. That has seemingly been confirmed today, with a Cadillac spokesperson telling Roadshow that drivers will be able to pay $25/mo for Super Cruise, or add it to “select OnStar and Connected Services bundles” for $15 per month more.
Without a subscription, drivers will get adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance. However they won’t have the hands-free functionality.
The automaker has declined to say just how many vehicles with Super Cruise are on the road. Still, with only around 28,000 sales of the CT6 in the US during the years the hands-free ADAS was offered, and Cadillac telling us back in June 2019 that approximately 30-percent of CT6 sold were outfitted with the system, that suggests less than 9,000 vehicles in total.
How many of those owners will be willing to cough up a subscription to keep the service also remains to be seen. According to Cadillac’s numbers last year, on cars where Super Cruise is installed, drivers engage it more than half of the time when the functionality is available. That could suggest that, though relatively few in number, owners will be of the type unwilling to let the feature lapse.