Report: Super Cruise Sensor Could be Blinded By the Light

A new report says that Cadillac’s Super Cruise hands-free driving system could be blinded by the light. Revved up like a deuce… wait, no, that last part isn’t right.

In all seriousness, the same sunlight that can blind you behind the wheel can cause problems for the various cameras and sensors used by the semi-autonomous tech that lets systems like Super Cruise handle some of the driving for you. In this case, it’s the infrared camera mounted to the steering column. It’s part of the system that monitors driver alertness.

“Just as the sun makes it hard for you to see what’s ahead of you, it does the same thing for a camera,” said Sam Abuelsamid, an engineer and Navigant Research analyst, told Automotive News. “It is a challenge.”

Of course, GM isn’t the only one facing this issue. A camera is a camera, and automakers need to find innovative solutions to problems that we as drivers already deal with daily behind the wheel. GM’s lead automated driving engineer Daryl Wilson told AN that there will be “significant changes” in the next generation of Super Cruise and that a fix for the sunlight issue will be a part of them.

GM has already made changes to the system to help with sunlight from the side, but direct light is a bigger challenge. “That’s not something they’re going to be able to fix with software,” he said. “That’s a flaw in the physical design,” said Abuelsamid.

In addition to future hardware fixes, GM has made some more immediate changes. Like 15 new messages to tell the driver why Super Cruise isn’t available in a certain instance, or why it shut off, should it shut off.

Automotive News