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Super Cruise, Ultra Cruise… Hyper Cruise?!

2022 2022i GMC Sierra 1500 Denali with Super Cruise Ultra Cruise Hyper Cruise General Motors Trucks
The 2022 GMC Sierra Denali digital cluster and Super Cruise indicator light. Photo via GMC

On January 13th 2021, the same day Ford Motor Company filed for the Thunderbird trademark, General Motors has applied for ‘Hyper Cruise’ with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The description reads: “electronic speed and steering control system for facilitating the autonomous driving of a motor land vehicle, sold as an integral part thereof.”

General Motors Hyper Cruise trademark USPTO

Hyper Cruise is this third name for an autonomous/semi autonomous driving system that General Motors has either so far announced, offered or is intending to offer. It first began with Super Cruise in the 2018 Cadillac CT6, which allowed for hands-free driving on divided highways that were previously mapped and geofenced. The technology is expected to finally make its way onto more crucial vehicles, such as GM’s entire T1 platform pickup truck and SUV lineup. This includes highly sought after vehicles such as the all-new Cadillac Escalade, as well as the high-volume Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks. It’s even expected that customers will be able to tow with Super Cruise activated.

Ultra Cruise is expected to build on Super Cruise by allowing for semi-autonomous driving in more technical areas like city streets, neighborhoods, and subdivisions. That said, General Motors hasn’t exactly outlined when this evolution of Super Cruise would debut. But they revealed a flying chair last week during CES, so that’s something.

Hyper Cruise Could Be Next Level

As for what Hyper Cruise could be, General Motors specifically mentioned “autonomous driving” in the description of the USPTO trademark application. Super Cruise and Ultra Cruise specifically mention “semi-autonomous driving.”

This could imply that General Motors is preparing a Level 3 autonomous driving system, based on SAE J3016 standards ranging from Level 0 to Level 5. There currently aren’t any Level 3 vehicles fit for consumption, let alone Level 4 or Level 5. The latter of which is unconditional self driving, in all conditions, all of the time. Currently, ADAS technology like Super Cruise or Ford’s new Active Drive Assist fall under the Level 2 category. This means that these systems are capable of taking over steering, acceleration, and braking events within a set framework, but the driver must actively monitor the system and the road ahead in the event that they need to suddenly take over.

Level 3 is considered a major leap from Level 2, as it requires high levels of artificial intelligence, and Hyper Cruise could be one of the first systems to do it. The timeline for this rollout is unknown, but considering how much work General Motors has been putting into actively removing drivers from needing to operate a vehicle, chances are they will be one of the first to market.

The public at large are still not that confident in the technology, however.

Cadillac Escalade Super Cruise Ultra Cruise Hyper Cruise
Image via Cadillac

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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