During the virtual keynote at the 2022 CES Show, General Motors Chair and CEO Mary Barra unveiled a lot of details regarding the company’s electrification plans. In addition to the unveiling of the 2024 Silverado EV, 2024 Equinox EV, and announcement of the Blazer EV, Barra also revealed that Cadillac will be the first brand to get the Ultra Cruise driver assistance feature. The system will enter production in 2023 and among the first vehicles to get it will be the Celestiq, Cadillac’s upcoming flagship full-size sedan underpinned by the Ultium suite.
Essentially an expansion of Super Cruise, Ultra Cruise builds on the original semi-autonomous system by enabling hands-free driving in 95 percent of real-world scenarios. It will be usable in most highways within the United States and Canada, which totals to over two million miles worth of roads. GM says it will eventually grow to 3,4 million miles so that more drivers can use the system in more parts of North America. Ultra Cruise will be powered by a 5.0-nanometer scalable computer architecture futureproofed by GM’s Ultifi software and vehicle intelligence platform. It will also gain new features over time via over-the-air updates.
Ultra Cruise builds on Super Cruise with the ability to follow internal navigation routes, react to permanent traffic control devices on the road, execute lane changes and left or right turns, avoid collisions, and automatically park the vehicle. It features a full 360-degree perception around the vehicle and smart diagnostics to let you know when upgrades are needed. The system also gathers information and sends them to GM’s data ecosystem to help with its continuous improvement. Its main components are a set of cameras, radar, and LiDAR sensors, enabling the vehicle to create a 360-degree, three-dimensional representation of the vehicle’s surroundings. One of the LiDAR sensors is mounted behind the windshield to maximize robustness and accuracy.
Like Super Cruise, Ultra Cruise alerts the driver via the digital gauge cluster. However, it takes things a step further by showing you if it’s seeing the same thing that’s in your line of sight. It does this via a display called the Ultra Cruise Dynamic Display, a free-form unit in the driver’s line of sight. Cameras facing the driver ensure you’re paying attention to the road ahead. GM will also be the first company to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Ride Platform for its advanced driver assistance features and will be used alongside in-house-developed software specifically for Ultra Cruise.
Launching Ultra Cruise on the Cadillac brand cements its position as the company’s luxury marque. For some time, Super Cruise was only available on Cadillac vehicles, the first of which was the CT6 full-size sedan. The Chevrolet Bolt EUV is currently available with Super Cruise on the Premier grade but it lacks certain features found in the newer version being used in the Cadillac Escalade like automatic lane changing. By 2023 Super Cruise will be on 22 models across the GM brand portfolio. These include the upcoming range of Ultium-based vehicles like the Chevrolet Silverado EV and Equinox EV, GMC Hummer EV family and Sierra Denali EV, and the upcoming Cadillac Lyriq crossover. Several upcoming Buick models, which will also be on the Ultium suite, are also expected to get Super Cruise.