Consumer Reports (CR) recently ranked autonomous driving systems for the first time and in that test, it pitted Cadillac against Tesla, Nissan, and Volvo. Tesla’s Autopilot system is the partially autonomous driving tech that we hear about most, but Cadillac has a similar system called Super Cruise. In CR’s testing, the Cadillac system came out on top.
Part of the reason CR ranked the Cadillac system higher is because it feels that the system does more to ensure the car is being operated safely and that the driver is paying attention. Both the Cadillac and Tesla system used similar hardware with cameras, radar, and other sensors. Mapping data is sometimes used to keep the cars moving on the intended path. Cadillac also has a camera that looks at the driver to ensure they are paying attention.
While neither system is intended to provide autonomous operation, the systems can help reduce driver fatigue and prevent accidents in heavy traffic. The publication noted in its testing that these systems do add additional risk for drivers if the systems allow operation in situations where drivers feel as if they don’t need to pay attention.
CR’s rankings put Cadillac Super Cruise first, Tesla Autopilot second, Nissan/Infiniti ProPilot Assist third, and Volvo Pilot Assist fourth. Nissan’s system good at keeping drivers engaged. Autopilot did outscore super Cruise in capability and performance, as well as ease of use.
Autopilot scored lower than Super Cruise in being clear when safe to use, keeping the driver engaged, and handling unresponsive drivers. Test rankings for the Volvo system weren’t good, but it did outscore Tesla in keeping the driver engaged. CR went so far in testing as to call Volvo and ask why it was marketing its system for “autonomous driving” on its website and Volvo changed the wording.