Super Cruise Ousted as GM’s Premier Hands-Free Driving Feature, Presenting the New Ultra Cruise

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GM has been on a mission to make autonomous cars a reality. Its driver-assist feature Super Cruise was released just a few years ago, and since then they’ve developed the Cadillac Personal Autonomous Vehicle (PAV) concept.
But they’re not stopping there. GM will be offering a new hands-free driving feature, Ultra Cruise, on certain 2023 Cadillacs, as reported by Motor1. But how is it better than Super Cruise?
Hand on a black steering wheel
GM has announced its new Ultra Cruise autonomous driving feature.

How are Ultra Cruise and Super Cruise different?

Super Cruise has been in GM’s lineup since 2017, though only a few cars have it. GM hopes to incorporate Super Cruise into 22 of its vehicles by 2023.
Ultra Cruise has been in the works since it was announced in 2020. There was little information regarding the specs of Ultra Cruise at its unveiling, but now it’s clear that it will be a distinct step up from Super Cruise technology.
While Super Cruise is capable of driving on over 200,000 miles of pre-mapped highways, Ultra Cruise will one day be able to cover up to 95% of driving scenarios. GM wants it to be capable of taking the wheel on every paved road in the U.S. and Canada.
Ultra Cruise will help the car make automatic lane changes and turns, avoid objects, and follow local speed limits, among other things. The car will monitor the driver while Ultra Cruise has control to make sure their attention is still on the road and they can take over if necessary, similar to Super Cruise.
It will also be set with scalable software architecture, allowing system updates to be done remotely. So far there hasn’t been much discussion on the cost of Ultra Cruise or whether it will have a subscription fee like Super Cruise, which is $25 monthly.

Ultra Cruise could rival Tesla’s Autopilot

Unlike Tesla’s autonomous driving feature, Ultra Cruise will use a variety of sensing devices to detect its environment. These include cameras, radar, LiDAR, and an infrared driver monitor. Ultra Cruise will have a display of what the vehicle "sees" through all of its cameras for the driver to monitor as well.
Currently, Autopilot relies only on cameras and requires driver "check-ins" where the driver must touch the steering wheel after a period of time. However, they are processing a software update that would give their cars similar monitoring capabilities.
Tesla also offers its driver-assist capabilities on all its models, while Ultra Cruise will be restricted to a handful of GM’s Cadillacs.

When will Ultra Cruise come out?

Ultra Cruise won’t be available until 2023, so in the meantime, Super Cruise will be GM’s primary driver-assist tool. However, chip shortages have put the product rollout on hold for a bit, and GM had to withdraw their Super Cruise addition to the new Escalade.
Hopefully, chip supplies will start to return to normal soon to support GM’s dive into self-driving vehicles.
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