General Motors is developing a wealth of new autonomous vehicle technology, including both fully autonomous systems and semi-autonomous systems. Now, it appears as though GM Authority spy photographers have captured General Motors in the act with this unique Chevy Equinox prototype vehicle. GM is expected to release the next evolution of its semi-autonomous driver assist system, known as GM Ultra Cruise, in the near future.
This Chevy Equinox prototype was spotted exiting a GM facility in Michigan. Notably, the crossover is wearing a set of California license plates, including a license plate frame that reads “Roseville Chevrolet.” Roseville is located north east of Sacramento, close to the Bay Area and San Francisco. Although it’s unclear if there’s any kind of connection, it should at least be mentioned that GM’s autonomous vehicle technology division, Cruise, is headquartered in San Francisco.
The Chevy Equinox prototype appears to be outfitted with a large array of sensors arranged on a roof-mounted rack. The sensor array is similar to that of several other autonomous test vehicles seen previously, such as a fourth-generation Cadillac Escalade prototype spotted early this year, or another Cadillac Escalade seen late in 2021. Cruise’s fleet of fully autonomous Chevy Bolt EVs is also equipped with a similar sensor array.
Although it isn’t totally clear what GM is testing here, it seems pretty obvious that it’s some sort of autonomous vehicle technology. One possibility is that General Motors is testing the up-and-coming GM Ultra Cruise system. Offered as the next evolution of the GM Super Cruise system currently offered by several GM production vehicles, Ultra Cruise will offer hands-free driving in up to 95 percent of driving scenarios on 2 million roads in the U.S. and Canada, covering some 3.4 million miles. The GM Ultra Cruise system will also incorporate more sensors than the current Super Cruise system, including visual cameras, radar systems, and LiDAR.
First announced in 2021, it’s unclear when exactly Ultra Cruise will launch. However, with prototypes like this Chevy Equinox running around, it’s possible that date may be approaching soon.