GM Authority spy photographers have captured images of a previous-generation Cadillac Escalade testing future autonomous, hands-free driving tech.
Our sharp-eyed photographers captured two separate Cadillac Escalade vehicles testing varying degrees of camera and sensor technology. The most eye-catching technology array was seen applied to a burgundy Cadillac Escalade with a Leica Pegasus: Two sensor platform mounted on its roof. The Leica Pegasus: Two, according to the German optics company, “is a multi-sensor mobile platform,” that incorporates two back-to-back cameras to create a 360-degree image. It also stitches data from the 360-degree image with data from the sensor’s LiDar to create “full digital reality captures.”
In addition to the Leica-equipped Cadillac Escalade, GM Authority spies spotted another previous-gen Escalade that was kitted out much like the GMC Yukon autonomous testbeds spied earlier this year. Both the GMC and Cadillac test vehicles featured LiDAR sensors embedded in the front bumper, along with cameras mounted in their windshields, grilles, mirrors and above the liftgates. The hardware also includes an additional monitor for a support engineer in the passenger seat, along with another display mounted above the instrument cluster enclosure. Even more sensors and cameras are positioned between the front seats, with three additional cameras visible through the vehicle’s windshield.
While the Cadillac Escalade is already available with GM’s Super Cruise hands-free driving system, the varied and evolving nature of the mapping tech and camera and LiDAR combinations applied to these two test vehicles suggests Cadillac remains hard at work developing greater degrees of autonomous driving. We imagine this engineering work is part of the development for the already-announced but not detailed Ultra Cruise system, which is expected to expand on the capabilities of Super Cruise in various ways.
GM said in October that Ultra Cruise will “ultimately enable hands-free driving in 95 percent of all driving scenarios,” and eventually will be operational on every paved road in the U.S. and Canada. Super Cruise will co-exist with Ultra Cruise, with the less advanced system to be available on more of GM’s mainstream vehicles and Ultra Cruise reserved for its premium entries. Not coincidentally, both vehicle models photographed by GM Authority with these advanced hardware arrays on them, the Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon, are considered premium entries.
Cadillac will be the first to introduce Ultra Cruise, with the technology set to launch in 2023.