General Motors just announced Ultra Cruise, the automaker’s upcoming advanced autonomous driver assistance technology. Ultra Cruise promises true “door-to-door hands-free driving” capabilities in 95 percent of all driving scenarios, with plans to eventually make the system available on every paved road in the U.S. and Canada.
GM Authority was the first to cover the GM Ultra Cruise system, including a trademark filing made in September of 2018 for the Ultra Cruise name, as well as spy photos of early prototype models testing the system in 2020.
Ultra Cruise joins GM’s Super Cruise system, a semi-autonomous driver assist technology already offered on several GM models, including the Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac CT4, Cadillac CT5, and Chevy Bolt EUV. The fully refreshed 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 and 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 will also feature Super Cruise with towing capabilities. According to General Motors, Ultra Cruise will be offered on premium vehicles, while Super Cruise will be available on more mainstream vehicles.
Ultra Cruise builds on the success of Super Cruise with expanded features, including greater automated driving capabilities (both highway and surface streets), an all-new dynamic display providing users with relevant driver-assist experience information, permanent traffic control device recognition, internal navigation route following, vehicle speed maintenance, automatic and on-demand lane changing, close object avoidance, and residential driveway parking.
Ultra Cruise was developed entirely in-house, and incorporates a wealth of technologies for 360-degree perception around the vehicle, including visual cameras, radar, and LiDAR.
The new Ultra Cruise system also incorporates GM’s recently announced Ultifi software platform, as well as the automaker’s Vehicle Intelligence Platform (otherwise known as the Global B electrical architecture), thus providing continuous updates and new features for customers. The system is capable of sending information to GM’s back office data ecosystem for continuous system improvement.
Ultra Cruise is set to launch on select Cadillac models in 2023. The system will be available on more than 2 million roads in the U.S. and Canada at launch, with the capability to grow to 3.4 million miles shortly thereafter.