It hasn’t been long since General Motors resumed normal operations after a two-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the automaker is already hard at work developing new technology for its upcoming models.
According to Doug Parks, GM’s executive vice president of global product development, Super Cruise’s hands-off driving technology will make its way to the company’s future Ultra Cruise model. The Ultra Cruise is yet to have an official name, but it is advertised as an expansion of GM’s previously released Super Cruise line and will be specifically designed for highway driving.
Super Cruise is a hands-free driver-assist system that is exclusive for highway-driving. GM ensures that the technology is safe for pedestrians by mounting a camera on the steering column in order to monitor the driver.
The technology currently supports over 200,000 miles of roads in North America. It is programmed to work only on roads that GM and its partners have mapped with lidar.
In a phone conversation at the recent Citi’s 2020 Car of the Future Symposium, Parks said that the driverless system was developed with the internal code name “Ultra Cruise.”
“Ultra Cruise’s domain would essentially be all driving, all the time,” Parks said. “Ultra Cruise would be all the Super Cruise, plus neighborhoods, cities, subdivisions.”
But the GM executive did not announce a timeline when the new technology will be added to its vehicles.
“We’re not saying Ultra Cruise will be fully autonomous 100 percent of the time, although that could be one of the endgames for Ultra Cruise,” Parks said.
This suggests that the upcoming GM product could go head to head with Tesla’s Full Self-Driving feature, which the company announced will eventually be included in Tesla models.
GM’s Super Cruise was first introduced to the public in 2017 when the automaker included the feature on the 2018 Cadillac CT6. In the coming years, it will also be added to other vehicles in the lineup.
GM vehicles that will be equipped with the Super Cruise are all bound to ride the upcoming Vehicle Intelligent Platform.