While Tesla was far from the first automaker to introduce assisted driving features in its production vehicles, it was the first to market the features as “semi-autonomous”. We could argue on what constitute a “semi-autonomous driving system”, but Tesla’s Autopilot certainly feels like one due to its unofficial hands-free capability.

The more advanced driver assist features found in luxury vehicles before Tesla still required you to steer the vehicle. While some were equipped with lane keeping, it would only activate if it would detect the car going outside the lane or pressure on the steering wheel.

Although not recommended, Tesla’s Autopilot allows for complete hands-free driving under certain conditions as the system is constantly active in the vehicle. Yet, GM doesn’t think it can be called a “semi-autonomous driver-assist technology” and claims it will beat Tesla to market with its ‘SuperCruise’, which the automaker as yet to launch.

Today, in a new press release boasting the system as part of its mobility plan, the company described ‘SuperCruise’ as “the industry’s first semi-autonomous driver-assist technology”.

GM’s Cadillac CT6 was supposed to be equipped with the system by now, but after several delays, the company now expects next year’s version of the luxury sedan to have the SuperCruise and be the first vehicle in all of GM’s brands to be equipped with the system.

The claim is especially odd when you take a look at the system’s features, which are exactly the same you’ll find in the Tesla Autopilot:

  • Adaptive speed cruise control from stop and go traffic to highway speed
  • Active lane keeping/lane steering
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Side collision avoidance

Of course, Tesla now also offers the ‘Summon’ features which enables the car to park itself without anyone in it, but we are only talking about highway driving here.

Now we haven’t tried the SuperCruise yet, so we are not comparing the performance of both systems, but based on the features, it’s hard to see how GM can claim that SuperCruise is a “first”.

It looks like GM might be more inclined than Tesla to advertise the system as being “hands-free”, that might be where the automaker gets its claim of “the industry’s first semi-autonomous driver-assist technology”, but we will need to wait and see.

Interestingly, both Tesla and GM chose to use aviation terms to name their semi-autonomous driving systems. While everyone is familiar with an autopilot, a “supercruise” is a term used to describe a sustained supersonic flight of an aircraft.

Featured Image: A Cadillac running a demo version of GM’s SuperCruise semi-autonomous system.

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