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GM races past Tesla in automated driving test, clinches top spot

Tesla’s (TSLA) historic success in its core segments has been an inspiration for the entire industry, and literally every major player has jumped on the bandwagon. But equations keep changing in the age-old auto industry.

If the latest statistics are any indication, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has either become complacent or is too busy creating/handling controversies that innovation seems to have taken a backseat at the company. A study by research magazine Consumer Reports revealed that the best performing car in the self-driving category is Cadillac’s Super Cruise, which displayed superior cruising capabilities than Tesla when operated in autopilot mode monitored by the driver.

A study by Consumer Reports revealed that the best performing car in the self-driving category is Cadillac’s Super Cruise

Super Cruise was found to be ahead of others in its capability to steer, brake and accelerate automatically in specific road conditions. The self-driving system developed by Cadillac’s parent General Motors (GM) allows drivers to take hands off the steering during short trips.

Super Cruise stands out for its unique camera that constantly keeps track of the driver’s eye movements and alerts when the look strays from the road for too long or the person on the driving seat dozes off. It is expected that the new system will be available on all GM models in two years.

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The special camera in GM’s self-driving system pushed Tesla into the second position. The innovative feature assumes significance considering the several accidents involving Tesla cars, caused primarily due to inadequate driver engagement while in autopilot mode. The report suggests that a sensitive technology like autopilot needs to be made more efficient with additional safety features.

Japanese carmaker Nissan, which made major inroads into the self-driving space recently, came in the third place, while Volvo’s Pilot Assist was adjudged the least effective system. However, the technology developed by Nissan and Volvo are still evolving from ‘hands-on’ assists to ‘self-driving’ systems. The tests, conducted on test tracks and highways, mainly evaluated ease of use, safety, driver engagement and performance.

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