GM announced that its future autonomous driving system, Ultra Cruise, will become fully operational in 2023. This would make the driving-aid feature one of the most advanced on the market by the time it arrives, competing with Tesla’s Autopilot and even besting it, if we’re to believe GM.
Ultra Cruise will not be replacing the current driving assistant from GM, namely the Super Cruise, which will still be available on lower-tier models. The new system will come with more advanced features and is on track to become operational on production cars as soon as 2023, according to the company.
GM claims that Ultra Cruise will be capable of handling up to 95% of the driving situations. Working on the back of the results achieved by Super Cruise before it, the new system will be using both cameras, radar and LIDAR technology in order to make sure it keeps everyone on the road safe.
The system will be using the same driver facial recognition camera as the Super Cruise, to make sure the person behind the wheel is paying attention to the road. This way, your input on the steering wheel will be reduced to a minimum. This makes the Super Cruise and will make the Ultra Cruise different from most other solutions on the market, that require you keep a hand on the steering wheel in order to make sure you’re not distracted.
Even so, the Ultra Cruise system will not be a self-driving feature that can cover every possible scenario. GM has made it pretty clear that the driver will need to react in certain cases in order to arrive safely at their destination. Even though it has a different name and the functionality will be drastically improved, Ultra Cruise will remain a Level 2 autonomous driving system.
One big advantage the Ultra Cruise will have over the competition though is that the GM system is claimed to work on subdivision streets as well, not just roads with road paint. That’s mostly because it doesn’t rely solely on cameras to get around, but uses LIDAR technology as well. This means, according to GM, that Ultra Cruise will be usable on more than 2 million miles of roads across the US.
Ultra Cruise will be available on higher-end models and will be improved over time, as it gathers more data from the vehicles using it. You’ll be able to buy it on Cadillac models, such as the Lyriq EV crossover, while cheaper models will still be available with Super Cruise.