It sounds easy enough. Pilot a sport-utility vehicle around a banked test track at General Motors Milford Proving Ground. But there is a catch and it’s a big one: while you’re sitting behind the wheel you’ll also be sitting on your hands, letting a complex network of cameras, radar sensors and computers handle the actual job of driving at speeds approaching 70 miles per hour.
Unnerving, most definitely, but the system, dubbed Super Cruise” by GM engineers and researchers, offers a glimpse into the future of motoring. Once you get the SUV is up and moving, the system works flawlessly. The computer keeps the vehicle perfect centered in the lane even when the SUV is moving at good clip.
The advanced version of the adaptive cruise control modulates the speeds to keep pace with the rest of the – manually operated — traffic on the test traffic. It slows when the researchers simulate a back-up around a freeway off ramp and speeds up as the traffic eases. We’re quickly back up to freeway speed.