Last year, before Cadillac revealed the CT4 and CT4-V, we spied a prototype of the model undergoing testing with a curious device – a long metal shaft sticking out from underneath the front end, with a propeller-like device attached to it. The setup looks like a plastic weathervane attached to a pole of some kind. It’s not that this contraption has been haunting our dreams or anything of that nature, but we have received a healthy amount of letters asking what it was. Luckily, we recently learned what the contraption is all about.
As it turns out, the device in question measures crosswinds – powerful gusts of wind that move laterally to the vehicle’s direction of travel. They can effectively move the car left or right within its lane, or even between lanes.
Crosswinds are common in aircraft landing or takeoff procedures, but the concept can also apply to automobiles, where they can occur naturally, or result from a nearby passing vehicle, such as a large truck passing another vehicle, particularly at highway speeds.
Our sources told us that the device on this 2020 Cadillac CT4 prototype is used to either develop or calibrate a driver assist feature that works to counteract the effects of crosswinds in relation to the Lane Keep Assist feature. Essentially, the setup being tested detects crosswinds and applies the appropriate counteractive (steering, throttle and/or braking) inputs to keep the sedan in its lane.
Crosswinds can definitely be dangerous, especially on tight or slippery roads with a significant amount of traffic, and the fact that Cadillac accounted for their effects in its various Active Safety / Accident Avoidance systems is no surprise, especially with the capabilities provided by today’s electronic steering systems.
The 2020 Cadillac CT4 will launch at the end of the first quarter of 2020. It will slot into the luxury C-segment, where it will take on the likes of the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Acura ILX, along with the BMW 1 Series Sedan (in China) and the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe (in North America).