Ultra Cruise promises to be more capable than Super Cruise, Ford Blue Cruise, and Tesla Autopilot all by 2023.
When we first reported on Ultra Cruise back in 2020, it felt like General Motors might just be dreaming of a day when they might feature the best self-driving technology on the road but that dream might just become reality soon.
Today, they've announced that Ultra Cruise is on track to be a part of production cars as soon as 2023. While that might feel like a long way off, it's important to consider exactly what Ultra Cruise is said to be capable of.
According to GM, Ultra Cruise will be capable of handling some 95% of driving situations through the use of both cameras, radar, and lidar scanned roadways. How can they be so confident? Well, even Super Cruise, a self-driving technology already featured on many GM products, is one of the best in the business and requires less driver intervention than some rival systems.
Instead of needing to keep your hands on the wheel, the system is always scanning the drivers face to ensure that they're maintaining attention on the road ahead. So long as they are, the system will drive by itself in almost all circumstances.
Still, this isn't to say that Ultra Cruise is true full blown autopilot. Even according to GM there will still be some scenarios where the driver will need to react to remain safe. That's one of the factors that's keeping Ultra Cruise in the "Level 2" driver assistant catergory.
It's worth noting that Tesla's Full Self-Driving platform is also considered a level 2 system. The biggest difference between the two seems to be the attitude around each one.
Tesla is open about working at gaining level 5 autonomy, a system so advanced that the car could be built without a steering wheel and pedals. GM is quite clearly on the more conservative side as they wade into these uncharted waters.