Tesla Autopilot vs. Cadillac Super Cruise | Comparison Test | Edmunds


JASON KAVANAGH: Hey, everyone. Dan and Jay here, and welcome
to our latest comparison video featuring Cadillac Super
Cruise versus Tesla Autopilot. DAN EDMUNDS: What you’re about
to see was shot in February. Since then, Tesla has updated
its Autopilot software, and we’ve been out to retest it. JASON KAVANAGH: Now, there’s
a separate video that addresses the updated software. And there’s a link to it
at the end of this video. So make sure to check that out. DAN EDMUNDS: A lot
of people are excited by the prospect of autonomous
vehicles and self-driving cars. And just about everyone has
heard of Tesla’s Autopilot. But it’s not the
only game in town, because Cadillac has just
introduced Super Cruise. JASON KAVANAGH: So we rounded
up our long-term Tesla Model 3, which is equipped
with Autopilot, and a Cadillac CT6, which
has the Super Cruise system. We’re not comparing
the cars here. This is strictly a comparison
of the two systems. We’re going to take
these two vehicles out into the real world to see
what these systems are made of. DAN EDMUNDS: So I’m driving
a Cadillac CT6 sedan. And it’s pretty nice. One of the things
that this car has is something that they call
Super Cruise, which is pretty much a super cruise control. Right now, the car
is managing the speed that we’re driving by managing
the gap to the car ahead. That’s adaptive cruise control. This has the ability
also to steer the car in an auto-steer
mode indefinitely, so long as certain
conditions are met. The road has to be surveyed. In other words, the car
needs to know that this is limited-access freeway. It doesn’t have any
kind of intersections or any possibility of a
car turning in front of us. If you go to the
Super Cruise website, you’ll see a map of
the United States and it has which interstate
highways are part of the Super Cruise network. And it also needs to know that
I’m looking straight ahead and I’m engaged in
the task of driving. And it does that by using a
sensor here and two sensors here in the wheel. I saw the little gray steering
wheel appear for a moment. There it is again. Press the button. And here we go. We’re in hands-free mode. This is a real hands-free
system because this system is looking at where
my head is pointed and where my eyes are pointed. So if I look over here
to the camera too long, eventually it’s going
to get mad at me and this will start
to blink, and it will be my indication
that hey, there it goes. The system has it pretty
well under control, but this is not autonomy. This is another step
closer to autonomy, but we’re not there yet,
because it still needs me to monitor the situation. JASON KAVANAGH: I’m
driving our long-term Tesla Model 3 and one of the options
that we made sure to select is Autopilot. And Autopilot is Tesla’s
semi-autonomous driving mode. It’s not a self-driving mode. It’s really an adaptive
cruise control system with a very sophisticated
lane-keeping system working in conjunction with it. There are a variety
of sensors and cameras on the outside of the
car that are monitoring not only the lane
markings, but also traffic around the vehicle
in order for it to get its bearings on
where it is on the road. You turn on Autopilot
pretty simply. You tap this lever twice and
boom, we’re in Autopilot. And I can take my
hands off the wheel for a brief amount of time. Eventually, it’ll start
to make angry noises and is telling me to put
my hands back on the wheel. And if you don’t put your
hands back on the wheel, it will cancel Autopilot for
the duration of that drive. So you want to make sure you put
your hands back on the wheel. Autopilot is engaged
and active when you have this blue steering
wheel icon illuminated. When that’s not
illuminated, you’re basically either just driving
or it’s adaptive cruise only. And it’s showing
you on the screen these blue lines are showing
that it sees the lane markings. It’s got these waves on the
side of the car when you’re near another car in
an adjacent lane, and then it’s got vehicles
in front on the screen when you’ve got vehicles
directly in front of the car you’re driving. So right there, it lost
one on the lane markings and wandered to the
edge of the lane. So I intervened in order
to put it back in the lane. So it’s not a perfect system. As the driver, you still
have to pay attention to what’s going on. It’s, again, not a
self-driving mode. DAN EDMUNDS: So we’re in
morning commute traffic here in Santa Monica
on the west side, and it’s pretty notorious. And I’m going 16
miles an hour, and I’m doing it hands-free, so long
as I’m looking straight ahead. And that’s key, because if
I’m not looking straight ahead and something happens, there
won’t be time for me to react. But because I’m
looking straight ahead, I probably will naturally
put my hands on the wheel and reengage before
the system even tells me to, because my
Spidey Sense is always off. JASON KAVANAGH: In
traffic, Autopilot is really in its element. It’s got enough information
from the surrounding vehicles that it knows its place
and it can deal quite well. Coming up in the carpool
lane a little later is a K-rail that’s pretty
close to the edge of the lane, so we’re going to see how
well it deals with that. Going to have a light
touch on the wheel here. Had no trouble with that at all. DAN EDMUNDS: You
know, carpool lanes can be narrower
than normal lanes, and they can be really close
to the concrete center divider, as you can see this one is. But I am approaching a
freeway intersection. It knows that I’m going
to go straight and not exit the freeway. No, it doesn’t
seem to know that. It’s telling me to take control. And had a red indicator
came on, basically saying, hey, I need you to be engaged. But you know what? It just came back on. So that was an artifact. I think what happens is whenever
the computer gets confused– I got passed by an SUV. That SUV looked
like maybe it was going to come in front of me. Maybe the computer wasn’t sure. And so it said hey, put your
hands back on the wheel. JASON KAVANAGH:
So Autopilot’s got a little bit of a
idiosyncrasy where it wants your hands on the
wheel in order for Autopilot to remain active, but you
can’t put too much pressure on or it thinks that you want to
take over the task of driving. So it’s a little bit
of a balancing act to get accustomed to how much
pressure to put on the steering wheel, but it’s not too hard. One of the features it has
is an automatic lane change. I can just put the blinker
on and it changes lanes automatically without any
intervention from the driver. It’s a pretty neat trick. DAN EDMUNDS: This doesn’t
have the lane change feature that a Tesla has. They’re not willing
to go quite that far. They would like the driver
to be the one who initiates and executes a lane change. So I’m going to put
on my turn signal. Now when I change
lanes, this is going to turn blue, which means
auto steer is in pause. And as soon as I get centered,
it’s going to turn green. It’s not there yet. There it is. And now I can go
back into this mode. 65-70 miles an hour. And there’s some
corners, and no problem. You know, freeway corners
have a big radius. This system only really
works on the freeway, so no problem coping. JASON KAVANAGH: Now, we’re on
a divided freeway right now, and this is kind of the ideal
environment to use Autopilot. And the reason is because it
throws the fewest variables at the car. In other words, you
don’t have to deal with stop signs or
traffic signals, which auto pilot can’t deal with. It also has traffic going
in only one direction with the divider, so that makes
things easier for the system as well. So it’s just trying to
take us off the freeway onto a different freeway, so I
had to intervene right there. So we’re going to see
how this system deals with the loss of a lane. We’ve got a lane merge
coming up right here. Our lane is going away. And it seems to be OK. It handled the loss of a lane
with no problem whatsoever. DAN EDMUNDS: So just a minute
ago the red light flashed and I was asked to put my
hands back on the wheel. And at first, I
didn’t understand why, and then I came onto
this construction zone. They’ve got k rail up here. These two lanes are dug up. So obviously, they
know that this section is under construction
and they’re not allowing Super Cruise to work
in the construction area. So we’ve seen what
happens when I look away or when I turn my head. And I’m wearing glasses. But what if I was
wearing sunglasses? Well, we can try that out. It can see that I am looking
where I need to be looking. If I turn my head
to the side, it’s going to warn me to look
ahead, and there it goes. But I don’t know
if it’s going to be able to pick up the side eye. If I glance away underneath my
glasses, will it pick up that? Oh, it did. It’s a pretty powerful system. It’s got pretty high
confidence that it knows what the driver is looking at. JASON KAVANAGH:
Autopilot is trying the center the car
in the lane, and you can tell that it’s
constantly trying to find the edges of the lane
with its sensors and cameras, because there’s a slight
weaving effect here. We’re sort of caroming gently
in the middle of the lane. Autopilot has no restrictions
on where it can be used. In other words, you
can enable Autopilot on a limited-access freeway
like we’re on currently. You can have it active
on a side street. Basically anywhere the lane
markings are clearly defined and it has a reference,
Autopilot will work. So while that’s
true, it’s a system that you should
really use primarily on the freeway, like
on a long road trip, just because of some of the
limitations of the system on a side street environment. DAN EDMUNDS: Right now, the
system isn’t seeing the lane lines, and it’s not reengaging. And that’s because we’re on
a concrete freeway that’s been bleached out by the sun. The city here has
put black strips, so it’s almost like this
particular road has black lane stripes. And the system had a
little bit of a hard time making sense of that. But now that it has, I’m
back in Super Cruise mode. It’s just a sign that this
system is conservative. It’s trying to make the
safest decision possible and not just go off and
calling it good enough. JASON KAVANAGH: Now in
this two-lane road here, we’re approaching
an intersection now. It’s a green light. Certainly, it’s not going
to stop for red lights, but we’re green. It’s looking for
the lane markings, and Autopilot took it in stride. No issues at all. As long as it’s got consistent
lane markings, it’s just fine. Once it loses the lane
markings, then things are getting a little curveball. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, interesting
thing about Super Cruise is it’s pretty relaxing. The ability to take your
hands off the wheel and just kind of chill but be ready. I think that
reduces the workload just a little bit, which
might make that kind of travel more enjoyable. But certainly here, there’s no
anxiety involved in using this. It’s quite the opposite. JASON KAVANAGH: Yeah. So when the lane gets
really wide like that, sometimes it sort of dives
toward the middle of the lane to try and find the lane
markings on the opposite side. And once it finds them, it cuts
across again to the other side. So this is where Autopilot
seems to be performing the worst is on this two-lane
road of gently rolling hills. Every other circumstance
we’ve thrown at it, it’s been much better. And this is not good at all. Wow. So it just crossed
the double yellow. I would get pulled
over if I drove the way the Autopilot’s
driving right now. I’m not letting it do that. So we had a truck
coming head-on, and I didn’t want to take any
chances with Autopilot going over the double yellow again, so
I just intervened right there. So Dan, one of the
things I learned about using Autopilot is that
while it allows you to use it anywhere at any
time, it’s really kind of better
suited for freeway use than it is for
side street use. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah. And that’s the thing
about Super Cruise. You don’t have that
choice to make, because it only works
on freeways that General Motors has blessed. And they also have
sensors in the car that look at my face and
eyes to make sure that they’re looking straight
ahead and I’m fully engaged. And the payoff for all of that
is true hands-free capability. JASON KAVANAGH: Yeah, that’s
one thing about Autopilot is that it requires the drivers
hands to be on the wheel, and that’s sort
of a pro and a con because it’s more
incumbent upon the driver to determine when it’s
safe to use the system and when maybe
they don’t want to. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, and I
think that’s why I frankly trust this one more. JASON KAVANAGH: For more
information on Teslas, Cadillacs, and everything
else, go to Edmunds.com. JASON KAVANAGH: And don’t
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