In case you haven’t noticed, autonomous cars are all the rage, with some predicting the roads will be filled with driverless vehicles by 2030. And whether you buy it or not, it certainly doesn’t hurt to prepare yourself for the future. So we thought we’d share a few tips we picked up during a 900-mile road trip in the new hands-free capable 2018 Cadillac CT6, which goes for a little under $90,000. You never know, you might find yourself needing them a lot sooner than you think.
1. Not all autonomous cars are alike: The first thing to know about self-driving vehicles is that there are various levels of autonomous technology, ranging from 0 (cars with absolutely no driverless capabilities) to 5 (vehicles that roll entirely in autonomous mode). The Cadillac CT6 with Super Cruise falls in the second level, which generally refers to systems that are capable of controlling things like basic steering maneuvers and braking.
2. Don’t freak out: Going totally hands-free in a self-driving vehicle might sound easy, but it can actually be a little nerve-wracking at first. Just remember that an autonomous system like Super Cruise has to go through a series of tests before the technology is given the OK for public roads. So whenever you decide you’re ready to let go of the wheel, the car is fully up to the task.
3. Keep your eyes on the road: Although the technology is self-driving, it does require a key visual cue to continue to operate, namely the driver’s eyes (at full attention) on the road ahead. In fact, Caddy’s autonomous system has a number of built-in safety mechanisms that will temporarily disable the self-driving feature (after a series of warnings) if it detects that the driver’s eyes have veered off course.
4. You’ll still want to drive it: Given that it’s not a fully autonomous car, the system still requires the driver to manually steer the luxury sedan when there’s a need to change lanes. The Caddy’s self-driving function is also restricted to roads with limited access, namely open highways. But no need to sweat the manual labor. When you’re in a car as hot as the CT6, it’s easy to enjoy the experience that comes with taking full control of the wheel.
5. Oh, and traffic laws still apply: That’s right, autonomous cars don’t free you from the typical laws associated with driving. While there’s still a bit of confusion on some of the legalities tied to them, the person behind the wheel is ultimately responsible for any driving infractions. So, if you decide to set the Super Cruise system at a speed higher than the legal limit, just know that Cadillac won’t pick up the ticket tab.