Hands Free Driving On All Paved Public Roads

GM General Motors Ultra Cruise Semi Autonomous Driving Technology
Image via General Motors

After what feels like a over a year of teasers, mentions, and hints from the company’s top officers, General Motors has finally disclosed details on Ultra Cruise hands-free driving technology. And it’s a level beyond what we’ve already seen with the game-changing Super Cruise.

GM Ultra Cruise: The Details

GM Ultra Cruise is designed to enable hands-free driving within 95% of driving scenarios. Upon its release, Ultra Cruise will cover more than 2 million miles of roads within the United States and Canada and is expected to grow to more than 3.4 million miles in the future. Thus, allowing customers to travel hands-free on nearly every public paved road in the two countries.

GM executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, Doug Parks, stated that “Ultra Cruise is not just a game-changer in terms of what it enables – a door to door hands-free driving experience – but a technological one as well. It’s been developed completely in-house.”

Reading Traffic Lights, Object Avoidance, Self-Parking

GM will offer two versions of the hands-free driving system, with Super Cruise being the lower-cost technology while Ultra Cruise will be a more premium offering. There are a few differences between Ultra Cruise and Super Cruise, and while Ultra Cruise is built off of the same capabilities of Super Cruise, it has a few new automated features that intend to:

  • 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

In combination with all of this, GM Ultra Cruise will also have smart diagnostics to record data and identify scenarios where it needs upgrading. The system will work through a combination of cameras, radars, and LiDAR. The system will communicate with the driver when they need to control the vehicle creating a Human-Machine Interface. By integrating LiDAR behind the windshield, GM allows the driver to see the same things the system is seeing.

On the horizon, we’ve got our eyes on an even more advanced technology: Hyper Cruise.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Sport Platinum Super Cruise Global B GM VIP Augmented Reality 5G 4G
Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Written by Zac Quinn

Zac's love for cars started at a young age, after seeing the popular Eleanor from Gone In 60 Seconds. From there, fascination and enthusiasm blossomed and to this day the Ford Mustang remains a favorite. His first job started out detailing cars, but also provided the opportunity to work on restoration including an 1968 Ford Mustang, Pontiac Firebird, and a C3 Corvette, though he left that job before further work and experience could be had. From there, he was a detailer at a car dealership before quitting that job to try and finish college.

Much of his free time while studying was spent watching YouTube videos regarding new cars, or off-roading. 4WD247 is a personal favorite channel which rekindled a dying flame in car enthusiasm, now tailored towards trucks and SUVs and the fun that can be had building up an overlanding rig, and going on adventures, though, that chapter remains unwritten for the time being.

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