Battle of the Bots: Consumer Reports Favors Ford BlueCruise Over GM Super Cruise
Consumer Reports has fired up a debate on social media about the best driving assists currently on the market.
Consumer Reports has handed down a verdict on the various driver assistance systems on the market, and Ford has come out on top.
Ford's BlueCruise bested active driver assists from various rival automakers in testing by Consumer Reports, scoring 85/100 overall. As per the report, GM's Super Cruise was the second-highest-ranked system with a score of 75, followed by Mercedes-Benz Driver Assistance at 72. While Consumer Reports states that driver assists can make driving safer and more convenient, it also notes that these systems in no way allow a car to drive itself.
BlueCruise beat Super Cruise comprehensively in the Consumer Reports test. Categories included Capabilities and Performance, Keeping Driver Engaged, Ease of Use, Clear When Safe to Use, and Unresponsive Driver. The latter category is the only one where GM's system came out on top. In every other category, Ford's system came out ahead.
The rankings have spawned a fierce discussion on social media. Some commentators questioned the rankings for placing Ford's system ahead of GM's, based on their own experiences. The Capabilities and Performance category was a particular target for debate. As one example, Super Cruise boasts towing features, which BlueCruise lacks. Despite this, it was ranked lower in this category. Both Ford and GM's systems also lost out in this regard to the Mercedes-Benz system, with the latter not even offering hands-free driving as an option.
Some criticism was also laid at the feet of the testing regime used. Consumer Reports simply didn't test features like automatic lane changes or traffic light monitoring. Thus, systems with additional functionality didn't gain any points for their greater sophistication.
Consumer Reports notes that its tests did place a great deal of value on driver monitoring. It was largely on this basis that BlueCruise and Super Cruise took top honors. Both systems rely on infrared cameras to detect the driver's gaze. From fall 2023 onwards, the outlet will actually dock points for systems that don't adequately monitor if drivers are paying attention. Many current systems solely rely on asking driver's to keep their hands on the wheel, which can often be gamed with various techniques.
Notably, Tesla's Autopilot has slid in the rankings, scoring just 61 points out of a possible 100. It achieved second place in the 2020 report, but has sunk to seventh place in the latest rankings. The company's poor showing was largely attributed to its lack of evolution, with the system still lacking driver monitoring and collaborative steering features.
Other criticisms of the report involve the limited use of real roads for testing. Consumer Reports relied on a 50-mile loop on public roads, with other testing taking place at the Auto Test Center in Connecticut. Neither did the testing investigate performance in common scenarios like heavy rain or snow, or reactions to potential accidents.
Obviously, any such ranking is subjective, and Consumer Reports laid out the basis for its decisions. It's also clear that BlueCruise and SuperCruise are both highly regarded driver assists with their own unique advanced feature sets. At the same time, it's clear that the rankings as published conflict with the opinions of some who have sampled the broader range of driver assistance technologies on offer.
Having an opinion in public often comes with criticism, as a matter of course. If one thing is for sure, it's that the argument over who has the supreme driver assist tech won't be settled today.
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