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Cadillac Super Cruise outperformed Tesla's Autopilot during track and on-road testing by Consumer Reports.

A large part of the notoriety surrounding Tesla’s vehicles is the much-publicized Autopilot semi-autonomous system. However, a recent comparison of the existing systems reveals that while Autopilot might be best-known, it is not best.

That honor, according to Consumer Reports, belongs to Cadillac’s Super Cruise technology.

The magazine claims Cadillac’s system does “the best job of balancing high-tech capabilities with ensuring the car is operated safely and that the driver is paying attention.” The technology will be available on all GM brands by 2020.

Tesla’s Autopilot system, which has faced scrutiny from critics who say its name misleads drivers about its capability, ranks second and is available on all Tesla models, Consumer Reports notes. The brands tested included the aforementioned technologies as well as Nissan ProPilot and Volvo Pilot Assist, which placed third and fourth respectively.

(Most drivers don’t know how to use the latest safety technology. Click Here for the story.)

“Autopilot and Super Cruise were the clear winners. These systems accelerated and slowed comfortably and were able to reliably keep the vehicle centered in the lane for several miles at a time,” the magazine noted. “The Nissan and Volvo systems had trouble with curvy or hilly roads, and they had frequent lane departures.”

Tesla's Autopilot finished second largely because of the driver monitoring system.

Nissan said it has intentionally limited the lane-centering capability of its system to keep drivers engaged. Volvo also said its system has limited capability to drive itself, Consumer Reports noted.

(Click Here for more about Cadillac expanding Super Cruise to all of its models.)

The testing took place at the magazine’s test track and freeways near its headquarters in Connecticut and the systems were ranked based on their performance on several tests, including:

  • How well cars stay centered in their lanes.
  • How often the vehicles crossed lane lines.
  • Speed control.
  • Ease of use.

Nissan's ProPilot Assist still requires the driver to keep their hands on the wheel.

The results may be considered surprising given that Tesla brought its system to market first and has made several improvements to it over time. However, one key aspect of the tests that helped Cadillac was the magazine’s emphasis on ensuring that the systems keep drivers engaged.

Cadillac’s Super Cruise uses a driver-facing camera to monitor the driver, making sure that they’re watching the road. Tesla’s Autopilot requires drivers to touch the wheel but doesn’t disengage right away if they take their hands off.

(To see more about 74% of Americans being “too afraid” to ride in self-driving vehicles, Click Here.)

“The best systems balance capability with safeguards — making driving easier and less stressful in the right situations. Without proper safeguards, over-reliance on the system is too easy, which puts drivers at risk,” said Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports, in a statement.