GM is working on a hands-off advanced driving system for city streets – ProWellTech
GM has a “big team” working on an advanced version of its Super Cruise hands-free driving assistance system that will expand its capabilities beyond highways and apply them to city streets, said the vice president of global development of products from the car manufacturer Doug Parks.
GM is also continuing to improve on its current Super Cruise product, Parks said during an interview broadcast via the web by Citi 2020 Car of the Future Symposium.
“As we continue to increase Super Cruise, we continue to add capacity and not just highway roads,” Parks said, adding that a separate team is working on the hands-free city driving product known internally as “Ultra Cruise”.
“We are trying to remove the same capacity from the highway,” he said. “Ultra cruise would be the whole Super Cruise plus the neighborhoods, city streets and subdivisions. So Ultra Cruise’s dominance would essentially always be driving, “
Parks quickly added that it would not be self-driving. Advanced driver assistance systems have become more capable, but still require a human driver to take control and pay attention.
“What we are not saying is that Ultra Cruise will be completely autonomous 100% of the time, even though it may be one of the final games,” said Parks.
Parks did not indicate a timeline for the availability of Ultra Cruise. A GM spokesman said in a statement after the interview that the company continues to expand its hands-free driver assistance system technology through its vehicle portfolio and has “teams looking at how we can expand capabilities in multiple scenarios. “
GM said it “doesn’t have a specific name or something to announce today, but stays tuned.”
This new feature of Ultra Cruise would put it in competition with Tesla Advanced autopilot guidance system, which today is considered the most capable on the market. Tesla’s “full self-driving” package, a more capable version of the Autopilot, can now identify stop signs and traffic lights and automatically slows down the car until it stops on approach. This feature is still considered in beta.
GM’s Super Cruise uses a combination of lidar map data, high-precision GPS, cameras and radar sensors, as well as a driver attention system, which monitors the person behind the wheel to make sure they pay attention. Unlike Tesla’s autopilot driver assistance system, Super Cruise users don’t need to get their hands on the wheel. However, their eyes must remain direct.
GM has taken a slower approach to Super Cruise than Tesla’s method of distributing software updates that allows early access to some owners to test improved functionality. When GM launched Super Cruise in 2017, it was only available in a Cadillac model – the full-size CT6 sedan – and limited to divided main roads. This started to change in 2019 when GM announced plans to expand where Super Cruise would be available.
GM’s new digital vehicle platform, which offers more electrical bandwidth and data processing power, has allowed engineers to add to Super Cruise’s functionality. In January, GM added a feature to Super Cruise that automates lane changes for drivers of some Cadillac models, including the upcoming 2021 Escalade.
This enhanced version of Super Cruise includes better steering and speed control. The improved version will be introduced from the Cadillac CT4 and CT5 2021 sedans, followed by the new Cadillac Escalade 2021. The vehicles are expected to be available in the second half of 2020.