When it comes to Tesla's competition, General Motors' Super Cruise is undoubtedly one of the most capable driver assistance systems available in the market today. You can find the tech exclusively in the Cadillac CT6 sedan only, but it's completely hands-free and should be rolled out in all Cadillac models in 2021.
But now GM has something in the works that's better than the Super Cruise, and the company calls it the Ultra Cruise, bringing the same convenience off of that highway and into the city streets.
In a report by CNBC and several other news outlets, Vice President of Global Product Development Doug Parks said that GM currently has a designated team developing the Ultra Cruise.
"Ultra Cruise would be all of the Super Cruise plus the neighborhoods, city streets, and subdivisions," Parks said. "So Ultra Cruise's domain would be essentially all driving, all the time."
It is an ambitious project for GM. After all, the automaker has taken a different approach in terms of promoting its semi-autonomous tech. Unlike Tesla's Elon Musk, who has boldly claimed that full-self driving will arrive on the company's EVs soon, Park's take on this technology is that the driver has to be attentive all the time.
For the time being, GM doesn't want to confirm that the Ultra Cruise feature will be fully autonomous in the near future, but Parks said that it's more likely to turn out that way.
The Super Cruise system that GM currently has uses a series of cameras, Lidar map data, radar, and GPS to guide the car. What makes this feature distinct from all the other systems is that it's completely hands-free. An eye-tracking camera also ensures that the driver is looking straight ahead and not somewhere else.
Tesla's marketing of its autonomous driving feature has been so widespread that even countries that don't have its EVs yet have heard of it, and yet its cars don't have this feature that GM has. But the Model 3 does have features that make driving safer, like requiring the driver to never take his hands off the wheel.
We should probably mention that the Ultra Cruise name is unofficial and that it's an internal term for the upcoming feature. According to Parks, they will announce the feature's official name "eventually."
GM will also release a better version of the Super Cruise system on the 2021 models of the CT4, CT5, and Escalade. As for when Ultra Cruise ships, the company is yet to make an announcement.