DETROIT — General Motors isn't promising that Ultra Cruise, its hands-free driving system for city streets, can handle every situation right away.
Ultra Cruise, which debuts in 2024 on the Cadillac Celestiq, will tell the driver to take over through roundabouts and other intersections requiring complicated maneuvres, said Jason Ditman, the system's chief engineer. It also will relinquish control at the threshold of destinations such as a grocery store parking lot or the owner's driveway, Ditman said.
"Over time, we'll grow this to where we're covering nearly every paved road," he told reporters.
The limitations that GM is revealing for the system — and its repetition of the phrase "safely deploy" — show that the automaker is taking a different tack than Tesla, which is under investigation for accidents involving the semiautonomous features it calls Autopilot and Full Self-Driving. GM said Ultra Cruise can tackle 95 per cent of driving scenarios.
Instead of just using cameras, as Tesla does, GM said its system combines seven long-range cameras with more than 20 sensors. It uses short- and long-range radar, lidar behind the windshield and a camera atop the steering column to monitor whether the driver is paying attention.