As the future of cars is changing drastically and while the ability for fully autonomous cars is still a few years down the road, semi-autonomous cars are starting to make their presence known more than ever. There are already 6 vehicles that have semi-autonomous systems on the market or ready to come onto the market. Now these systems won’t let you take a nap behind the wheel, but they will help you manage one thing that so many daily drivers hate, excessive traffic.
The Audi A8 Sedan is launching Traffic Jam Pilot expected to be out late this year or early next year. This system is not fully autonomous but the system will help take over in heavy traffic. The system is functional below 35 miles per hour, the system can steer, accelerate, brake and even come to a complete stop and start up again. One positive of this system is that you don’t have to ride the brakes which can save you trips to the mechanics for worn out brakes.
Much like Audi’s Traffic Jam Pilot, BMW has launched Traffic Jam Assistant. This system is not a fully autonomous system either but it is a feature that will take away some monotony of sitting in heavy traffic. The system works at very low speeds but it does require that you keep your hands on the wheel, even if it’s doing the steering and working the pedals.
A new system available right now in the Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan is the Cadillac Super Cruise. Cadillac bills this system as “the world’s first true hands-free driving system” on the basis that unlike other platforms the driver doesn’t have to intervene. If you drive on the brand’s mapped routes, you can let the system drive your vehicle for hours and without ever having to tap the steering wheel. The one drawback to this system is you have to drive on Cadillac’s mapped routes for the system to work and right now Cadillac has only mapped 130,000 miles across the US and Canada.
Nissan / Infiniti also has a program out, ProPilot, that would be considered the least autonomous of all the systems. Available in the Nissan Leaf and the Infiniti Q50, This system is much like any other adaptive cruise control but with a catch, it can steer for you. The catch with the steering control is that your hands must remain on the wheel the entire time, if you remove your hands at any point then the car chimes until you return your hands to the wheel. Outside the US, Nissan does have more auto pilot programs in their vehicles and we might see those in the future but for right now the ProPilot system is what the US has offered.
The newest Mercedes-Benz E-Class has debuted a new system called Drive Pilot. This automated driving system does not allow you to remove your hands from the wheel.The automated driving works at virtually all speeds when weather and road conditions are right and will even change lanes.
Volvo’s Pilot Assist feature works much like Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot. It boasts largely autonomous driving but it still requires occasional inputs from the driver so the system knows the driver is still in place. Volvo does not boast this system as an autonomous system but more of a driver’s aide. The feature is available on the S90 Sedan, V90 and the XC60.
As all of these vehicles show us that the world of autonomous driving is right around the corner, there are clearly many car companies that are already getting on the wagon to have semi-autonomous features or driver aid features in their car. Is one of these features a reason for you to get a new car? Would you like one of these features or are you like many consumers who have some doubts about the safety of these products?
DeMuro, D. (n.d.). 7 Best Semi-Autonomous Systems Available Right Now. Retrieved July 9, 2019, from https://www.autotrader.com/best-cars/7-best-semi-autonomous-systems-available-right-now-271865