Autotrader names best semi-autonomous driving systems now available

(January 10, 2018) ATLANTA — Autonomous cars may have once seemed like something out of a futuristic movie, but there's no doubt that they are coming. While fully autonomous cars are undoubtedly still years away, several automakers are bringing semi-autonomous systems to market that assist with some of the driving. The editors at Autotrader have listed the top semi-autonomous driving systems to help car-shoppers navigate their tech options in 2018.

"Semi-autonomous systems can help drivers minimize mistakes and have the potential to make driving safer," said Brian Moody, executive editor for Autotrader.

"All of these vehicle systems are either currently available or will be available in the near future, giving shoppers a great opportunity to get into a vehicle with the latest and greatest in-car driving technology. They represent the best in autonomous driving advancements, even if they don't quite let you sleep or watch TV while you're moving down the road."

7 Best Semi-Autonomous Systems Available Right Now

Audi Traffic Jam Pilot

Expected to be out late this year or early next year in the Audi A8 sedan, Traffic Jam Pilot isn't fully autonomous technology that's designed to be used in all cases, but rather where you (likely) desire it the most — in heavy traffic. Functional around 37 miles per hour, the system can steer, accelerate, brake and even come to a complete stop and start up again.

BMW Traffic Jam Assistant

Much Like Audi's Traffic Jam Pilot system, BMW's Traffic Jam Assistant isn't a fully autonomous system to be used at all times, but rather a semi-autonomous feature that takes away the monotony of sitting in heavy, bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go traffic. When you're in such a setting, Traffic Jam Assistant can take over all steering, braking, and accelerating, meaning you no longer have to actually carry out the mind-numbing tasks of stop-and-go driving.

Cadillac Super Cruise

Cadillac bills its "Super Cruise" system as the "world's first true hands-free driving system." According to Cadillac, if you drive on the brand's mapped routes, you can let the system drive your vehicle for hours on end without a problem. Unfortunately, the caveat is that Cadillac has mapped a mere 130,000 miles of highways in the United States and Canada, far short of the 4.8 million total miles of road in the two countries. Regardless, the system is impressive, and it's available right now in the Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan.

Nissan/Infiniti ProPilot

Nissan's comprehensive ProPilot driver assist system is available on the new 2018 Nissan Leaf and is coming to the 2018 Infiniti Q50 sedan, which goes on sale shortly. Like many adaptive cruise control systems, it can accelerate and brake for you, based on whatever speed you set and the actions of the vehicle ahead. Unlike many adaptive cruise control systems, it also can steer for you — but there's a catch: you have to keep your hands on the steering wheel, basically, at all times.

Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot

The latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class debuts with a new system called Drive Pilot, which allows fully autonomous driving — and even lane changes — at virtually all speeds when weather and road conditions are right. Unfortunately, like all largely autonomous systems except the Cadillac Super Cruise, you can't simply remove your hands from the wheel and let the car do the work.

Tesla Autopilot

Tesla's Autopilot system is the closest thing to autonomous technology aside from Cadillac's Super Cruise. When Autopilot first debuted, drivers could leave their hands off the steering wheel for long periods of time, but government regulations have limited that capability, and drivers now must make contact with the wheel every minute or two to let Autopilot know the driver hasn't climbed into the back seat to take a nap.

Volvo Pilot Assist

Volvo's Pilot Assist feature works much like Tesla's Autopilot and Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot: it boasts largely autonomous driving, but it still requires occasional inputs from the driver so the system can verify the driver is still in place. This driver's aide will steer around most gradual bends and can speed up or slow down the vehicle based on the actions of cars in front. The feature is available on Volvo's S90 sedan, V90 station wagon, and XC60 crossover.