General motors has announced that its new hands-free driving system, Ultra Cruise, will be available in the Cadillac Celestiq from 2024. The system relies on seven long-range cameras and over 20 sensors, as well as short and long-range radar and lidar behind the windscreen. The system also uses a camera atop the steering column to monitor whether the driver is paying attention.
Ultra Cruise initially will be offered on high-end vehicles while Super Cruise, which functions only on highways, has expanded to mass-market models such as the Chevrolet Silverado. It also has its limitations, and will tell the driver to take over through roundabouts and other complicated intersections. It also relieves control at the threshold of destinations like a grocery store parking lot or the owner’s driveway.
The company has confirmed that testing of the Ultra Cruise system on public roads has yet to take place but will be fully tested before its release. “GM’s fundamental strategy for all ADAS features, including Ultra Cruise, is safely deploying these technologies,” said Jason Ditman, the system’s chief engineer.
GM’s approach to autonomous driving differs from Tesla, which has caused controversy with its use of beta testers to help develop its self-driving technology. Tesla has come under scrutiny following several accidents and reports of the company’s Autopilot or Full Self-Driving technology failing to operate safely.
GM is taking a more considered approach to autonomous driving, due to the serious implications that a failure of the system could cause. The fact that GM is taking its time to develop Ultra Cruise and ensuring that it is fully tested before release shows that the company is committed to the safety of its customers. However, some may argue that the limitations of the system and its reliance on the driver taking control for some situations reduces its overall effectiveness.
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