General Motors is developing a next-generation semi-autonomous driver assist system called Ultra Cruise, which will evolve the current GM Super Cruise system with new features and capabilities. Unfortunately, GM vehicles equipped with the Super Cruise system will not be able to update to Ultra Cruise when the latter is finally launched.
During a recent conference call with members of the media, Global Vice President of Cadillac Rory Harvey was asked if existing vehicles equipped with Super Cruise would be available to update to Ultra Cruise. In response, Harvey said that such an update would not be possible as there is “different hardware” requirement for the more-advanced Ultra Cruise system.
As a refresher, the GM Super Cruise system currently offered is a semi-autonomous feature that allows the driver to remove their hands from the steering wheel during extended highway driving. Originally offered with the 2018 Cadillac CT6, the Super Cruise system is now available for models like the Cadillac CT4, Cadillac CT5, Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Silverado, GMC Hummer EV, and GMC Sierra, among others.
By comparison, the forthcoming GM Ultra Cruise system expands on the capabilities of Super Cruise with hands-free driving on city streets as well as the highway, offering a “door-to-door hands-free driving experience.”
General Motors officially announced its forthcoming Ultra Cruise system in October of 2021, originally filing to trademark the Ultra Cruise name in 2018, as GM Authority covered previously. Ultra Cruise is expected to be available in 95 percent of driving scenarios on 2 million roads in the U.S. and Canada, covering roughly 3.4 million miles. The system also incorporates more sensors than the GM Super Cruise system.
The first GM vehicle to offer the new GM Ultra Cruise system will be the upcoming Cadillac Celestiq, the luxury marque’s halo, ultra-premium, all-electric sedan model.
As for models equipped with Super Cruise, the Super Cruise system is expected to receive over-the-air updates going forward, such as a trailering feature for Super Cruise-equipped examples of the Cadillac Escalade. However, as confirmed by Global Vice President of Cadillac Rory Harvey, the Super Cruise system will not be updatable to Ultra Cruise.