Cadillac axes Escalade’s hands-free driving feature due to chip shortage

The 2022 Escalade is heading into production, but it’ll be missing a key feature when the first customers pick up their new ride: the hands-free driving mode known as Super Cruise. It’s the latest feature to get the axe as a result of the global semiconductor shortage, which has been an especially big drain on the auto industry.

The shortage is also forcing Cadillac to hold off on adding Super Cruise to the CT4 and CT5 sedans, according to Roadshow. With the Bolt currently not on sale due to the massive battery recall, that means parent company General Motors’ most advanced technological feature is currently not available on any new car.

“[W]e’re confident in our team’s ability to find creative solutions to mitigate the supply chain situation and resume offering the feature for our customers as soon as possible,” Cadillac told Roadshow.

Super Cruise debuted on the CT6 (which has since been discontinued). It uses a variety of sensors, software, and eye-tracking to allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel on pre-mapped roads — as long as they keep watching where the vehicle is going. Cadillac announced in 2018 that it would expand the feature to all cars and SUVs in its lineup and that Super Cruise would come to other GM models as well. Other automakers are working on similar features, like Ford, which calls its own system BlueCruise. (GM is currently suing Ford over the name.)

Automakers have had to make a number of hard choices because of the chip shortage. In some cases, they can’t get the ones they need, and in others, they have to prioritize where to use the chips they can get. GM has so far focused more on cutting specific features from certain models where possible, like wireless charging, HD radio, auto stop-start, and, in some trucks, a fuel economy module. But it’s also had to briefly stop production at various plants altogether, like pretty much all of its peers.

Losing Super Cruise on the Escalade is particularly notable, though, because GM has spent the last few years positioning Cadillac as the brand that’s most representative of the automaker’s future. Cadillac is where GM first started rolling out Super Cruise and is also going to sell one of the first electric vehicles built on the parent company’s new electric vehicle platform.

The 2022 Escalade was supposed to be a flagship in this push. GM and Cadillac adorned it with a massive touchscreen and fitted it with Super Cruise. Now, though, that feature is in limbo for the luxury SUV, and with no end to the chip shortage in sight, it could be a while before buyers get the option back.