GM is getting ready to launch Ultra Cruise. Its next generation of hands-off driver assistance will be able to handle 95 percent of all driving scenarios when it arrives with the Cadillac Celestiq flagship EV. Here is everything you need to know about the sensor suite that makes it happen.
Cameras. So many cameras. That includes seven 8.0-megapixel cameras mounted to the front, corners, back, and sides of the vehicle. They are meant to detect objects down the road like traffic signs, lights, other vehicles, and pedestrians. Another camera mounted to the steering column watches you. It makes sure that your eyes are on the road, because even hands-off, you need to be paying attention.
Each corner of the car gets a short-range radar. These can sense pedestrians crossing and vehicles around you at distances of up to 90 metres.
The short range radar is joined by 4D long-range radar at the front and rear of the car. These systems allow Ultra Cruise to handle adaptive cruise control and make sure lane changes are safe. The long range radar detects the location, direction, and elevation of obstacles relative to vehicle speed.
Then there is the LiDAR. A LiDAR sensor behind the windshield creates a three-dimensional view of everything in front of the vehicle. This lets the vehicle “see” road features, lane markings, and other objects, even when the weather is bad. LiDAR increases where and when the Ultra Cruise system can work.
All of this is controlled by GM’s Compute platform. The hardware that lets Ultra Cruise work is a scalable computer architecture powered by Qualcomm’s system-on-chip.
GM expects that over time customers will “be able to travel truly hands-free” on nearly every paved road in Canada and the U.S. OTA updates will help make sure all Ultra Cruise models have the latest features and fixes.
What they aren’t saying is when we’ll be able to actually drive with it on vehicles that you can buy. For now, it’s only been announced for the Celestiq which is not in production.