Autonomous vehicles are the hottest trend in the automotive industry. Every manufacturer wants to make a car that will drive itself, but the technology isn’t quite there yet. Until the industry does reach that technological level, semi-autonomous features will have to do. But there are numerous safety issues to conquer, and brand prestige may take a back seat to effective innovations.
Why Semi-Autonomous Modes Need Safety Features
The autonomous car craze started with Tesla and its Autopilot feature. This driving mode allows the car to control itself under the right conditions, but it can be dangerous. Tesla owners who have let their attention wander while using the feature have crashed their cars. Some of those crashes have proven fatal. To keep this from happening to its semi-autonomous vehicles, GM has developed an innovative solution.
The Cadillac CT6 will be equipped with a semi-autonomous drive mode called “Super Cruise”. Like Autopilot, Super Cruise will allow the car to operate itself to a limited degree. That means it will require drivers to pay attention to the road in order to operate safely.
To ensure this attentiveness, Tesla uses a sensor that indicates when the driver is touching the steering wheel. If the driver is not touching the steering wheel, the system will chime an alert. If the driver’s hands do not return to the wheel, the car will come to a safe stop. However, some people have bypassed this safety feature, leading to crashes and other safety concerns. GM decided to take its attentiveness sensor to a higher level.
A GM Safety Feature May Be Coming to Your BMW
The Super Cruise feature will use infrared LEDs and cameras to monitor the driver’s eye movements and head position. This will allow the system to tell if the driver is paying attention while Super Cruise is activated. If the driver looks away from the road, the system will give them a warning. If inattentiveness continues, the car will safely come to a stop.
This distraction sensor has got so much buzz that even high-quality luxury brands have noticed. BMW plans to release its new X5 model with its own semi-autonomous drive feature—the Extended Traffic Jam Assistant System. As a part of the system, BMW has included infrared sensors that monitor a driver’s attentiveness. The BMW system projects an infrared grid on the driver’s face to monitor where they are looking. However, other functionalities seem to mimic the GM system.
BMW isn’t the only German brand working on autonomous vehicles. Mercedes-Benz is also testing a “Drive Pilot” system on some of its E-class coupes. That means these features could be coming to the high-class luxury German vehicles you bring into Silver Star Motors. Our auto technicians strive to make sure our service is high-quality. That means being ready for the latest innovations coming from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. You can keep up with these updates by following our certified mechanics, and if your vehicle is acting up, contact us for an appointment!