Consumer Reports: Cadillac Tops Tesla in ADAS Safety & Performance

Cadillac, the luxury vehicle division of General Motors, is tops when it comes to advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features, narrowly beating out electric carmaker Tesla, according to new analysis from Consumer Reports.

These were the findings of trials conducted this September by Consumer Reports. The watchdog tested four ADAS platforms on their ability to automate speed control and steering.

When it comes to maintaining driver attentiveness, Cadillac’s Super Cruise fared best. The platform uses a camera to track the driver’s gaze, and will issue a warning within four seconds of detecting a distracted driver.

This compares to Tesla’s Autopilot platform, which only detects driver distraction through the steering wheel and could take nearly half a minute to issue a warning.

Assisted driving platforms from Japanese automaker Nissan and Swedish carmaker Volvo landed at the bottom of the rankings.

The report found drivers could have trouble even turning on Nissan’s ProPilot Assist platform, while Volvo’s Pilot Assist system displays were found to be small and hard to decipher.

The watchdog also found ProPilot and Pilot Assist had trouble with curvy or hilly roads, and they had frequent lane departures.

The Caddy’s Super Cruise platform was also ranked best at knowing its operational limits — the feature is only available only on limited-access highways GM has already mapped, and can’t be used on back roads or in other places where it could be difficult for the car to maintain control.

Available on all Cadillac models beginning in 2020, Super Cruise will make its way to GM brands later, the company announced in June.

“We have been evaluating these systems on a case-by-case basis for a few years, but we are at a tipping point where they are now going mainstream,” Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports, wrote in a statement. “The best systems balance capability with safeguards — making driving easier and less stressful in the right situations.”

Fisher cautioned that without proper safeguards, over-reliance on the system is too easy, which puts drivers at risk.

“Consumers stand to gain a lot from the convenience of these systems, but only if automakers put safety first,” David Friedman, vice president of advocacy at Consumer Reports, added. “We want to see automakers put the same emphasis on safety as they do on innovating and marketing these systems.”

In fact, a September report from AAA found drivers rely too heavily on ADAS features and are poorly informed about them.

The vast majority of the 1,200 consumers surveyed reported that they did not understand the limitations of blind spot warnings, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning and lane keeping assist.

Other recent surveys have shown consumers are wary about the safety of AVs, and in some cases growing more so.

Meanwhile, automakers are working to develop universal standards that allow for better communication between vehicles and pedestrians. This week Ford called on autonomous vehicle companies to share ideas for standards in the way driverless cars communicate with other road users.

— Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *