Ultra Cruise will be useable on every paved road in the US and Canada
The less capable Super Cruise will be offered on lower priced models
Cadillac models will be the first to use Ultra Cruise, starting in 2023
General Motors already has a self-driving system, called Super Cruise, but its limitations are prompting the company to introduce a more advanced system, named Ultra Cruise, that will be used on top of the line models, while Super Cruise will move to more affordable vehicles.
Automakers are competing to develop more and more competent autonomous driving systems that allow cars to drive without the assistance of a driver.
Already on the market for a few years, GM’s Super Cruise system lets drivers remove their hands from the steering wheel, as long as their eyes are scanning the road ahead.
The drawback of Super Cruise is that it only works on road that have previously been mapped by General Motors, which currently include most major highways in North America, but very few secondary roads.
To catch up to Tesla’s Autopilot, which can be used on almost any roads, GM is working on Ultra Cruise, an enhanced version of Super Cruise which will use a behind-the-windshield LIDAR.
Ultra Cruise will be able to work on almost any paved road in North America, including city and rural roads. GM claims the system could take care of all driving duties in 95% of the situations.
In addition to following a road, the system will be able to drive passengers to their destination by using the GPS. Other capabilities will include automatic lane changes and the ability to turn and park in a residential driveway.
In order to improve the system after its release on select 2023 model year Cadillac models, Ultra Cruise will support over-the-air updates and cars will be able to send data back to GM when they encounter a difficult situation while driving with Ultra Cruise.