It’s a lot like Tesla Autopilot in Full Self-Driving mode.
Cadillac’s newest luxury EV will have the latest hands-free driving system from General Motors called Ultra Cruise.
At the CES technology show this week, GM revealed more details about the advanced driving assistant that improves on the existing Super Cruise system. Super Cruise (available in certain Cadillac and Chevy vehicles) only works on certain highways across the U.S. and Canada, but Ultra Cruise will cover city streets, rural areas, and eventually all paved roads. It will function in some ways like Tesla’s Full Self-Driving mode, which is available on all types of roadways.
Ultra Cruise will make its first appearance in the upcoming Celestiq electric sedan in 2023. The upgraded driving system will have new hardware, including three chips from Qualcomm and light-sensing LiDAR. The steering wheel light strip already well known among Super Cruise users for its white, green, and red status indicators will also flash a new color: amber.
New hardware for Ultra Cruise. Credit: General Motors
Jason Ditman, the chief engineer at GM, said in a call that the flashing amber light will indicate when the human driver needs to take over for Ultra Cruise and perform a complex maneuver on regular roads, like a traffic circle. He said the light bar on the steering wheel remains “the best way to communicate control.”
The driver monitoring system in Ultra Cruise has also been adjusted for city driving. Drivers won’t always be looking ahead like they do on the highway with Super Cruise, which issues a warning after drivers spend too long looking anywhere other than forward. The new system has to tolerate drivers’ natural tendency to look left when turning left, for example.
Another big change from Super Cruise is turning on the driver assistance mode. With Ultra Cruise you can set it to automatically engage once you start navigating on a route.
It’s still too early for GM to give pricing details, but Super Cruise is offered complimentary for three years. As many as 22 GM cars are expected to have Super Cruise compatibility by next year.