Cadillac’s Hands-Free Super Cruise is Compelling but Unclear

A recent user experience evaluation from the In-vehicle UX (IVX) group at Strategy Analytics has assessed the Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system in the 2018 Cadillac CT6. On completion, Strategy Analytics found that Super Cruise had 2 key aspects which provided a compelling experience, though it also fell victim to some of the same issues as other semi-autonomous systems. While the controls were well-located, some of its visual assets were unclear. Moreover, an asset was missing at a crucial time-point for safe operation.

Key report findings include:

  • Super Cruise is particularly notable as it is the first semi-autonomous system on market which uses a sophisticated driver monitoring system (equipped with eye and head position tracking). GM’s theory is that this implementation could augment other methods traditionally used to keep the driver in the loop, such as ensuring that the driver’s hands stay on or near the steering wheel.
  • Overall, Super Cruise scored favorably on the IVX rating scale for semi-autonomous systems as two drive-critical aspects of the system – lane centering technology and audible / non-jarring tactile alerts for escalated take-over requests – rated clearly one cut above its peers.
  • However, design changes of the HMI at 2 time-points – driver hand-off and messaging in the instrument cluster – could improve its usability tremendously.

“There are two main issues with GM’s Super Cruise. The time-point of driver hand-off to Super Cruise is missing a clear and obvious non-visual indication that the hand-off was successful; and messaging in the instrument cluster is too wordy for a high-speed use case and at times, nonsensical. However, this is not the first time we’ve noted these human factors issues in a system: our recent evaluations of other comparable systems have also noted these usability issues, ” said Derek Viita, report author and Senior Analyst.

“Though, despite these issues Super Cruise is a compelling system and well-positioned to compete in this emerging market for semi-autonomous driving features. A few simple design fixes are recommended, but these, paired with Super Cruise’s robust driver monitoring system and best-in-class lane centering, could potentially make it a game-changing feature,” added Chris Schreiner, Director, Syndicated Research UXIP.