GM's limited hands-free Super Cruise driver-assist system is about to become yesterday's news.
On Wednesday, GM announced its next-generation driver-assist system called Ultra Cruise that will enable hands-free driving in most situations when it launches in a Cadillac in 2023.
First announced in 2020, Ultra Cruise is being touted by GM as a "door-to-door hands free driving" solution that will work on all public paved roads in the U.S. and Canada. That equals more than 2 million miles of road, and eventually up to 3.4 million miles.
Today's system, dubbed Super Cruise, is capable of hands-free driving on about 200,000 miles of highway across the U.S. and Canada, and almost the same amount for China.
GM Ultra Cruise
Ultra Cruise goes beyond Super Cruise. GM says it can acknowledge and react to permanent traffic control devices, provide drivers information via a dynamic display, follow navigation routes, follow posted speed limits, perform both automatic and on-demand lane changes, perform left and right turns, avoid objects, and park in a residential driveway
Ultra Cruise is being developed in-house, and it won't replace Super Cruise. Super Cruise will be sold alongside Ultra Cruise with the latter being the more premium offering in more expensive vehicles.
Powered by a 5-nanometer, scalable computer platform, GM says the system will be "future proofed" thanks to over-the-air software updates. A 360-degree camera system, radar, and lidar sensors all work in unison to provide the vehicle a three-dimensional view of the surrounding environment, according to GM.
While capable, the system will require driver engagement. GM touts the system as delivering hands-free driving across 95% of scenarios. Complex intersections and certain situations will still pose an issue. The system, like Super Cruise, will shut down if a driver doesn't take over when the vehicle requests help.
Like Super Cruise, GM notes that Ultra Cruise is a Level 2 driver-assist system, and vehicles equipped with it will not be self-driving cars. Like Super Cruise, vehicles equipped with Ultra Cruise will have a driver-attention monitor that watches the driver's eyes.
In January, General Motors filed a trademark for the term "Hyper Cruise." It's still unclear what Hyper Cruise is or when it might arrive.