Cadillac has joined Google in the race to develop technology for self-driving cars. General Motors announced that Cadillac will have a “Super Cruise” function in commercial automobiles possibly by 2015, according to Autoblog.com.
Using cameras and multiple sensors, the “Super Cruise” feature allows cars to adaptively adjust their speed, keeps the vehicle centered in the lane, and steer and brake in highway driving. Current Cadillac models already have a juvenile version of the Super Cruise; many are able to automatically break and adjust cruising speeds based on other vehicles nearby.
The difference between the two technologies is the purpose. According to GM, the Super Cruise is meant to be a safety feature, not a personal chauffeur. The Super Cruise only works in good weather- weather conditions that hide lane markings or interfere with the GPS will force the driver to grab the wheel.
Google’s self-driving vehicle on the other hand, is meant to be an entirely autonomous vehicle. The car is equipped with the Velodyne 64-beam laser range-finder mounted onto the car’s roof. The device scans laser measurements and uses them to record a 3D model of the world. The 3D image correlates to high resolution maps; based on the correlations, it creates a route that avoids obstacles and obeys traffic rules.
In addition, according to PC World, Google’s vehicle is equipped with radar, GPS and an inertial measurement unit to help keep the vehicle on course.
Interestingly, self-driving cars could change your driving habits. Google’s for example, is programmed to be especially courteous; it yields to all pedestrians, and adheres to all road rules.
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