At least according to Consumer Reports.
At present, full self-driving technology does not exist, though the currently available hands-free systems are still quite impressive. Tesla's Autopilot is, perhaps, the most well-known, but a majority of mainstream automakers also offer competing systems. General Motor's Super Cruise may not have the same broad name recognition as Autopilot, but it just came out on top in a Consumer Reports test. CR's engineers had a total of 17 systems to compare, such as those from Infiniti, Mazda, Land Rover, and Volvo, but Super Cruise, for the second time, won the top prize.
The publication tested the system on a Cadillac CT6, a luxury sedan that won't return to the 2021 lineup. However, GM says Super Cruise will be available on 22 of its vehicles by 2023, including the feature-packed GMC Hummer.
Engineers compared a number of system features, specifically their active driving assistance that includes things like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, and how those systems work when engaged simultaneously. Keeping the car within the lane lines and controlling speed through acceleration and braking are, obviously, must-haves. And yet, by the end of its testing, Super Cruise was deemed the best.
"Even with new systems from many different automakers, Super Cruise still comes out on top due to the infrared camera ensuring the driver's eyes are looking toward the roadway," says Kelly Funkhouser, CR's head of connected and automated vehicle testing. One main reason for Super Cruise's success is its ability to ensure the driver is still paying attention.
Super Cruise utilizes a small camera facing the driver's eyes to judge whether they're watching the road and if it determines the driver is not, it'll get the driver's attention by activating bright red lights on the upper rim of the steering wheel. If that fails to work, the system will begin slowing the vehicle down and eventually bring it to a complete stop. It's also capable of calling for emergency help.
Another good Super Cruise feature is that it has pre-mapped road data, so it knows when the driver is approaching a potentially difficult situation.
As for Autopilot, tested here on a Tesla Model Y, CR noted it can turn off abruptly once it realizes it lacks sufficient road information in order to operate. However, it has a loud alert notifying the driver of this; other systems sometimes only make a minor icon change in the instrument cluster.
CR emphasizes customers need to try out these systems before buying and that "automakers also need to realize that the more capable they develop a system in terms of driver assistance, the greater the chances are that the driver might tune out and try to leave the driving to the car."