ultra cruise, gm, general motors, driver assist, autonomous cars

General Motors (GM) has unveiled its most advanced driver-assist system to date, called Ultra Cruise.

The new technology will exist alongside its established Super Cruise driver-assist system, with the Super version to remain available on its more mainstream vehicles and Ultra reserved for its premium motors, the American auto giant said this week.

GM describes Ultra Cruise as “an all-new, advanced driver-assistance technology and significant next step in the company’s journey to enable its goal of zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion,” adding that drivers will be able to travel “across nearly every road including city streets, subdivision streets, and paved rural roads, in addition to highways.”

The Detroit-headquartered automaker said the new system will ultimately allow for hands-free driving “in 95% of all driving scenarios … on every paved road in the U.S. and Canada.”

GM executive Doug Parks said Ultra Cruise will offer a “door-to-door hands-free driving experience,” a significant improvement on Super Cruise, which is currently limited to highway driving.

Coming to Cadillacs

Launching with Cadillac vehicles in 2023, Ultra Cruise will utilize a combination of cameras, radars, and LiDAR, and will be good for more than 2 million miles of roads, with that figure increasing to 3.4 million miles over time.

As per the automaker, Ultra Cruise will:

  • provide users with information based on their experience with the system through an all-new dynamic display
  •  react to permanent traffic control devices
  • follow internal navigation routes
  •  maintain headway; follow speed limits
  •  support automatic and on-demand lane change
  • support left- and right-hand turns
  • support close object avoidance
  • support parking in residential driveways

Automakers — Tesla, Ford, Audi, and BMW among them — have in recent years been investing heavily in creating advanced driver-assist systems designed to take the stress out of driving and improve safety. While the technology falls short of making the vehicles fully autonomous, the features are improving all the time, as evidenced by GM’s latest effort.

“The combination of Ultra Cruise for premium offerings and Super Cruise for lower-cost products will enable us to offer driver-assist technology across price points and segments,” Parks added. There’s no word yet on how much buyers will have to pay to have Ultra Cruise added to their vehicle, but we’ll be sure to update just as soon as we know.

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