MIT study monitored Super Cruise drivers while using feature
Showed they pay attention, take control more than expected
A new study of drivers using Cadillac Super Cruise shows that those drivers continue to pay attention when they’re behind the wheel. It’s a key measure when it comes to semi-autonomous driver assistance features like Super Cruise where the driver is expected to take back control of the vehicle suddenly if the system can’t handle a certain situation.
The paper published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology titled Driver Behavior and the Use of Automation in Real-World Driving tested the semi-autonomous system in the real world. The goal was to monitor the behaviour of real drivers and not lap test results.
The finding? That drivers liked to keep an active part in driving, paying attention, and even taking the wheel. Even when they didn’t have to. Rather than sitting there and letting the computers take the wheel, human drivers retook control for things like lane changes more often than expected. It seems that they prefer to drive, even if it’s only some of the time.
“In the back of my mind, I thought that drivers would probably put the automation on when the system was available and then disengage it when they got off the highway,” lead author Pnina Gershon told Automotive News. “That was my expectation. But it’s surprising there’s a high degree of collaboration between the driver and the system, even though it’s hands-free driving.”
We’ve likely all seen videos of drivers misusing semi-autonomous tech, especially in Tesla vehicles, but this is one of the first to monitor how drivers use the systems correctly.
While this particular study, which had 14 participants each drive a Cadillac CT6 for one month, covered more than 22,000 miles and monitored 5,343 instances of drivers taking control.
The author notes that this study applies only to Super Cruise – and check out our review of the system here – because of the system’s driver monitoring features. Other studies on similar systems from other automakers are also underway.