Cadillac XTS Driver Assistance Technology Almost Dispenses With the Driver

By Blake Z. Rong | February 14, 2012
Soon, GM predicts, the car will be able to drive itself. But until we're whisked Jetsons-style down L.A.'s 405 freeway (or even better, through the air) we're halfway there with today's technology. The upcoming Cadillac XTS flagship will be packed with enough sensors, cameras, and radar systems in and around the car to all but do without the pesky, smelly human that sits behind the wheel. Almost. Cadillac's Driver Assistance Package comes with a grocery list of techno-wizardry: Rear Automatic Braking, Full-Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control, Intelligent Brake Assist, Forward Collision Alert, Safety Alert Seat, Automatic Collision Preparation, Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Adaptive Forward Lighting, Rear Vision Camera With Dynamic Guidelines, Head Up Display, and it will probably make you a shooter's sandwich if you ask it nicely enough. GM considers this "a milestone toward the development of self-driving vehicles." And to be fair, it is halfway there. The Cadillac XTS can keep the car at a set speed via cruise control, slow it down if a car merges into the lane, then resume its speed once the road clears. It can coerce the driver to stay in his or her lane with Lane Departure Warning, or suggest when to change with the Side Blind Zone Alert. If mirrors remain unchecked, the XTS can cover the driver's six with a camera, Cross Traffic Alert, and Rear Automatic Braking. And if the driver runs out of talent while looking forward, the Cadillac XTS can alert the driver to a potential crash, tighten up its seatbelts and brakes, shake the driver awake through its seats, and finally brace itself for an accident in an ultimately dignified manner. There's not much left for the driver to do other than stuff his maw with In-N-Out and fiddle with the available satellite radio, all the while barreling down the Santa Monica Freeway at 90-miles-per-hour.
Enthusiasts of the three-pedaled persuasion will decry the kinds of technology on the Cadillac XTS as the beginning of the end of the car as we know it, the start of our transition from passionate drivers to lowly slaves to the automatic driving robots that will take away our sports cars. But this sort of automation is par for the luxury-market course, and its price and convenience do much to reflect the priorities of Cadillac's intended customers—given the general rule of spreading safety features, it's not likely to trickle down to our Corvettes anytime soon. A self-driving car is still far off, but for those of us who toil in traffic jams on our way to our salt mines, any technology that divorces the hobby of driving from the necessity of getting somewhere is a further improvement in our safety and sanity, the efficiency of our cars, and the overall "green-friendliness" of the environment. Source: Cadillac