In-Car Tech

Cadillac to make America's only hands-free drive technology even smarter for 2021 model year

Super Cruise driver assistance technology is the only hands-free drive technology available in the U.S., despite claims from fans of other automakers.

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac already offers the only hands-free driver assistance feature available on a vehicle in the U.S. For the 2021 model year, the company is enhancing Super Cruise adding, among other technology, automated lane change functionality. This new capability will allow users to achieve hands-free lane changes on compatible highways when they make a request and certain conditions are met.

The new technological enhancements are made possible by the new General Motors digital platform, which allows for more electrical bandwidth and data processing power.

2021 Cadillac Super Cruise The new technology will debut in the 2021 Cadillac CT4 and CT5, the company's new sedans.Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Here's how the lane change functionality works. According to Cadillac,

When Super Cruise is engaged, the driver can either tap or fully latch the turn signal to indicate that they would like to change lanes. This will prompt the system to look for an acceptable opening in the indicated lane, while also taking time to let other cars know that a lane change is imminent. If the system determines that the indicated lane is open, the vehicle will merge into said lane. The driver attention system will continue to require the driver to focus on the surroundings during the lane change.

Upon initiation, the gauge cluster will display messages letting the driver know when the automated lane change has begun, or if lane change is unavailable and changing lanes must be manually completed by the driver. The system will display messages, such as "looking for an opening" or "changing lanes" to keep the driver informed on the status of the lane change.

"In order to add automated lane change and provide our customers with the same level of confidence that they currently have in Super Cruise, we made improvements to both our software and hardware," said Mario Maiorana, Super Cruise chief engineer. "This included improving rear-facing sensors and advanced software algorithms so that the system can confidently track vehicles approaching from the rear. As a result of these improvements, we are able to ensure that Super Cruise will hold in its current lane and only change when a sufficient gap exists."

Cadillac has made other improvements to the system including richer map information to enable automated lane change and improved functionality through turns and highway interchanges, improved software for better steering and speed control, and easier and more intuitive Super Cruise functionality that allows drivers to more easily engage with the system.

Super Cruise launched in 2017 and currently is available for use on more than 200,000 miles of compatible highways in the U.S. and Canada.

Enhanced Super Cruise with automated lane change will be an option on the 2021 CT4 and CT5 sedans and the 2021 Escalade when those vehicles become available in the second half of 2020.

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Domino's and Nuro announced their partnership in 2019 — and now the robots are hitting the roads.

Photo courtesy of Nuro

After announcing their partnership to work on pizza deliveries via self-driving robots in 2019, Dominos and Nuro have officially rolled out their technology to one part of town.

Beginning this week, if you place a prepaid order from Domino's in Woodland Heights (3209 Houston Ave.), you might have the option to have one of Nuro's R2 robot come to your door. This vehicle is the first do deliver completely autonomously without occupants with a regulatory approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to a news release.

"We're excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino's customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston," says Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior vice president and chief innovation officer, in the release. "There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations."

Orders placed at select dates and times will have the option to be delivered autonomously. Photo courtesy of Nuro

Nuro Domino's delivery vehicle

The Nuro deliveries will be available on select days and times, and users will be able to opt for the autonomous deliveries when they make their prepaid orders online. They will then receive a code via text message to use on the robot to open the hatch to retrieve their order.

"Nuro's mission is to better everyday life through robotics. Now, for the first time, we're launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino's," says Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president, in the release. "We're excited to introduce our autonomous delivery bots to a select set of Domino's customers in Houston. We can't wait to see what they think."

California-based Nuro has launched a few delivery pilots in Houston over the past few years, including the first Nuro pilot program with Kroger in March 2019, grocery delivery from Walmart that was revealed in December 2019, and pharmacy delivery that launched last summer.

From being located in a state open to rolling out new AV regulations to Houston's diversity — both in its inhabitants to its roadways, the Bayou City stood out to Nuro, says Sola Lawal, product operations manager at Nuro.

"As a company, we tried to find a city that would allow us to test a number of different things to figure out what really works and who it works for," Lawal says on an episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "It's hard to find cities that are better than Houston at enabling that level of testing."

You can find out which self-driving vehicles are being tested in your neck of the woods by clicking here.


This article first appeared on AutomotiveMap's sister site InnovationMap.

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The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is on sale now.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG
The all-electric range of the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 has been confirmed. The model is the first modern electric Volkswagen to be sold in the U.S. and a model that the German automaker is resting a lot of hopes on for the future of sales in the country.

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro with all-wheel drive will achieve an EPA-estimated 260 miles of all-electric range on a full charge. The ID.4 Pro S and 1st Edition, which have more features and equipment and therefore weigh more, achieve an estimated 250 miles of range.

The EPA-estimated fuel economy for ID.4 Pro RWD is 107 MPGe in the city; 91 MPGe on the highway, and 99 MPGe combined. The ID.4 Pro S and 1st Edition does slightly worse achieving 104 MPGe in the city, 89 MPGe on the highway, and 97 MPGe combined.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4: Exterior The "1st" badging denotes the vehicle as a first edition model. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

These new numbers come as part of a second round of EPA testing. Original testing found that the model did not quite hit its target.

How does that compare to other EVs? The Nissan Leaf Plus offers 226 miles of all-electric power. The Hyundai Kona Electric delivers 258 miles. Volvo's XC40 Recharge has just 208 miles of all-electric range but the Tesla Model Y can go up to 326 miles on one full charge.

First out of the Volkswagen gate will be ID.4 models with an 82-kilowatt-hour battery and rear-mounted AC permanent-magnet synchronous motor. That system delivers 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque.

At a public DC fast-charging station with 125 kW charging, the ID.4 can go from five to 80 percent charged in about 38 minutes. With purchase, ID.4 owners receive three years of unlimited charging at Electrify America DC Fast Chargers at no additional cost.

The 2021 ID.4 is on sale now, with pricing for the rear-wheel-drive ID.4 Pro starting at $39,995 MSRP, before a potential Federal tax credit of up to $7,500. The Pro S carries an MSRP of $44,495. The limited-run ID.4 1st Edition, which sold out the day the vehicle was launched, carried an MSRP of $43,995.

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