GM Ultra Cruise hands-free technology. General Motors has announced the launch of its next-generation advanced driver assistance system designed to ultimately enable hands-free driving in 95% of all driving scenarios. This new system will debut on the Cadillac CELESTIQ and will have a unique sensor suite that provides the system with a 360-degree view of the vehicle’s surroundings.
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GM Ultra Cruise “sensor fusion”
The Ultra Cruise system uses a blend of cameras, short- and long-range radars, LiDAR, an all-new computing system, and a driver attention system to monitor the driver’s head position and/or eyes in relation to the road to help ensure driver attention.
These systems work together through “sensor fusion” to provide Ultra Cruise with a confident, 360-degree, three-dimensional representation of the vehicle’s surroundings.
According to Jason Ditman, GM’s Chief Engineer for Ultra Cruise, the company’s fundamental strategy for all ADAS features, including Ultra Cruise, is safely deploying these technologies. “A deep knowledge of what Ultra Cruise is capable of, along with the detailed picture provided by its sensors, will help us understand when Ultra Cruise can be engaged and when to hand control back to the driver. We believe consistent, clear operation can help build drivers’ confidence in Ultra Cruise.”
Sensors functionalities and assistance
The Ultra Cruise system’s sensor suite includes a driver attention system, a computing platform, long-range cameras, short-range radars, long-range radars, and LiDAR. Each of these sensors is vital to the success of the new system, as they work together to create a 360-degree view of the vehicle’s surroundings.
The driver attention system, which is located on the top of the steering column, uses infrared light to monitor the driver’s head position and/or eyes in relation to the road to help ensure driver attention. The compute platform, which powers the Ultra Cruise system, features system-on-chips (SoCs) developed by American semiconductor company Qualcomm Technologies.
Long-range cameras, which are located on the front, corners, back, and sides of the vehicle, provide expanded fields of view for Ultra Cruise. These cameras help the system detect objects such as traffic signs, traffic lights, other vehicles, and pedestrians. Short-range radars, placed on the four corners of the vehicle, help sense a radius of up to 90 meters, like pedestrians crossing the street or vehicles in surrounding lanes.
Long-range radars, which are located on the front and back of the vehicle, allow for Adaptive Cruise Control speeds as well as lane change maneuvers at highway speeds. They help the system detect an object’s location, direction, and elevation relative to the speed of the vehicle and determine safe stopping distances.
The LiDAR, located behind the windshield, produces an accurate three-dimensional view of the scene, enabling more precise detection of objects and road features such as vehicles and lane markings, even in inclement weather conditions.
Combined with other sensors, it can create a robust perception of the environment around the vehicle for Ultra Cruise, increasing the system’s functional domain and performance.
GM expects that over time, customers will be able to travel truly hands-free with the new technology across nearly every paved public road in the US and Canada, including city streets, subdivision streets, and rural roads, in addition to highways. Vehicles equipped with the new system hardware will experience incremental enhancements through over-the-air software updates.
GM at the forefront of automated driving
GM’s focus is on expanding ADAS accessibility with the combination of currently available Super Cruise driver assistance technology and soon, Ultra Cruise, bringing these technologies to more customers on more vehicles, in more regions, and at more price points.
In conclusion, GM’s Ultra Cruise is the next-generation advanced driver assistance system designed to provide drivers with a confident, 360-degree, three-dimensional representation of the vehicle’s surroundings.
With its unique sensor suite, including cameras, radars, LiDAR, and driver attention system, GM continues to expand the availability of hands-free driving technology across its lineup, we can expect to see even more advanced driver assistance features become standard on new vehicles. For car enthusiasts, this means more exciting and innovative technology to look forward to in the years to come.