NEW YORK -- Starting this fall, the Cadillac CT6 will be ready to drive itself. But it's not ready to let you catch up on sleep, lose yourself in a mystery novel or enjoy a four-course breakfast during the morning commute.
The technology is limited to interstates and other divided highways with no cross-traffic -- and it stays active only as long as the driver pays enough attention to keep the car happy.
The system, called Super Cruise, shows how close the industry is getting to a future in which consumers can sit back and relax while their vehicle maneuvers through the tedium of traffic and the monotony of long road trips. At the same time, it's a reminder that we're still nowhere near being able to get too comfortable behind the wheel.
The 2018 CT6 won't be the first semi- autonomous car on the market. But unlike Tesla, Mercedes-Benz and a few other luxury brands, Cadillac won't force drivers to touch the wheel every so often to prove they're ready to take over if the car encounters a situation it can't handle. Instead, the CT6 watches the driver's eyes through an infrared camera on the steering column.
As long as the driver looks at the road ahead every seven to 20 seconds -- the faster the car is going, the shorter the minimum interval -- Super Cruise will be satisfied. It even has the ability to determine, based on head movements, where drivers are looking when their eyes are hidden behind impenetrable sunglasses.