- GM is set to release its updated assisted driving technology, called Ultra Cruise, in 2022.
- The new system will be able handle 95% of driving situations and two million miles of paved roads in the U.S. and Canada.
- It expands on GM’s first-generation ADAS, adding increased functionalities and road coverage, though it’s still only semi-autonomous.
General Motors announced its new assisted driving technology earlier this month at their investor event. This second-generation advanced driver-assist system (ADAS), called Ultra Cruise, builds on the company’s first system, Super Cruise.
While Super Cruise can only handle about 200,000 miles of divided highway, Ultra Cruise is set to be able to initially tackle two million miles of highway, city, subdivision and rural paved roads with an additional 3.4 million miles to be added at a later date. GM stated that the system is being designed to ultimately handle 95 percent of driving situations – including left and right-hand turns, close-object avoidance and parking – though drivers will still need to stay focused on the road.
GM’s Super Cruise, which was first released in 2017, has consistently been a consumer favorite among driver-assistance systems, primarily because of its driver-monitoring feature which detects and warns a driver when they take their eyes off the road. This feature is critical; research shows that ADAS systems tend to lead to less engaged drivers.
ADAS technology relies on sensors, including cameras, radar, and lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) – the most expensive type. This currently keeps the technology out of most entry and mid-level vehicles. As a result, Ultra Cruise is set to be released in select luxury models in 2022, starting with the Cadillac brand.
By 2023, 22 GM-owned models will be available with the first-generation Super Cruise, including more mainstream vehicles such as the 2022 Bolt EUV, Silverado, GMC Sierra and GMC Hummer EV.
Though this is a big step towards completely self-driving vehicles, the Society for Automotive Engineers still classifies Ultra Cruise as a Level 2 system, which is defined as only partial automation with human override capabilities required. Vehicles must reach Level 5 to be classified as fully automated, though there are no vehicles above a Level 3 currently available in North America.
Fully autonomous vehicles are the future, but in the meantime semi-autonomous vehicles – like those equipped with GM’s Ultra Cruise – are bringing us one step closer to that reality. Only time will tell whether Ultra Cruise lives up to the hype it’s getting right now!