GM Is Coming for Tesla’s Autopilot With Ultra Cruise

If you’re one for dramatic statements and /or pitting one automaker against the other, General Motors is coming for Tesla and the Autopilot. A new iteration of Super Cruise is now in the works and will allow hands-free driving on city streets.
GM's Super Cruise will evolve into Ultra Cruise for hands-free driving on city streets 7 photos
Photo: General Motors
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GM first introduced Super Cruise in 2017 on Cadillac, with a new version bringing improved steering and speed control set to debut on the 2021 Cadillac CT4-V and CT5, and the 2021 Escalade, all of which will start deliveries in the second half of 2020. An even better version will allow hands-free driving on city streets, GM says.

The statement comes from GM’s vice president of global product development Doug Parks, during an interview at Citi’s 2020 Car of the Future Symposium last week. Parks said GM has “a big team” working on the next iteration of Super Cruise, which they call internally Ultra Cruise. It would expand beyond highways, to include neighborhoods and city streets.

“As we continue to ratchet up Super Cruise, we continue to add capability and not just highway roads,” Parks said, as cited by TechCrunch. “We’re trying to take that same capability off the highway.Ultra cruise would be all of the Super Cruise plus the neighborhoods, city streets and subdivisions. So Ultra Cruise’s domain would be essentially all driving, all the time.”

Make no mistake, though, this is not – or will not be – autonomous driving. General Motors is adamant people make the distinction between advanced driving assistance and fully-autonomous. The latter is only the end goal right now.

Ultra Cruise would be the closest thing to Autopilot, so it would still require a driver at the wheel, monitoring the road. Unlike with Tesla’s Autopilot, though, GM’s driver assist does not require that the human operator keep his or her hands on the wheel, but they do have to keep looking straight ahead at the road.

Following the interview, a spokesperson for GM refused to confirm Parks’ statement, saying only that “We do not have a name or anything specific to announce today, but stay tuned.”
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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