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GM's Ultra Cruise Hands-Free Driving System to Debut on 2024 Cadillac CELESTIQ

The 2024 Cadillac CELESTIQ will be able to drive itself about 95 percent of the time, but the driver will still have to take control during anything complicated.

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The 2024 Cadillac CELESTIQ is designed to be the epitome of luxury and it will be equipped with GM’s next-generation advanced driver assistance system called Ultra Cruise. GM already has the Super Cruise hands-free driving technology, which gets rave reviews, but Ultra Cruise will use a suite of sensors to refine the hands-free tech even more.

Ultra Cruise Sensors Will Give 360-Degree View of the Vehicle

Currently, Super Cruise allows the driver to be hands-free on 400,000 miles of highways in the U.S and Canada. It does force the driver to keep his or her eyes engaged and watching the road.

Ultra Cruise will add more than 20 sensors around the vehicle to fine-tune the hands-free driving system. The added sensors will give a 360-degree view of the vehicle and its surroundings. Ultra Cruise and the added sensors will allow the driver to be hands-free in 95 percent of all driving situations, but it will still force the driver to keep his or her eyes engaged at all times. The driver will be forced to take over in complicated situations.

Cadillac CELESTIQ Ultra Cruise Rear Sensors

GM clearly isn’t rushing into totally autonomous vehicles. Rather, it is using an abundance of caution when it comes to self-driving.

“GM’s fundamental strategy for all ADAS features, including Ultra Cruise, is safely deploying these technologies,” said Jason Ditman, GM chief engineer, Ultra Cruise. “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.”

According to GM’s statement, “The destination-to-destination hands-free system will use more than just cameras to “see” the world. Ultra Cruise uses a blend of cameras, short- and long-range radars, LiDAR behind the windshield, 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.”

GM’s Approach is Contrary to Tesla’s Autopilot

Tesla seems to be the pioneer in the autopilot realm, with its vehicles often seen traveling with the drivers asleep or not paying attention. Teslas have been involved in a number of fatal accidents, with several cases of the vehicles running into parked emergency vehicles or other vehicles stopped in the roadway. Recently, Tesla has pulled back on its self-driving claims, calling on drivers to always stay attentive behind the wheel. The company is facing several lawsuits because of the fatal crashes.

GM has indicated that eventually it expects that customers will be able to travel truly hands-free with Ultra Cruise across nearly every paved public road in the U.S. and Canada. Ultra Cruise could ultimately navigate city streets, subdivision streets and rural roads, in addition to highways. Ultra Cruise will not debut in its final form. Ultra Cruise can be upgraded through over-the-air software updates. GM already has upgraded Super Cruise driver assistance technology through software changes. Super Cruise has added thousands of miles of additional roadways to its system and added the ability to change lanes. We can expect that Ultra Cruise will experience similar improvements in the coming years.

The 2024 Cadillac CELESTIQ

It makes sense that the new Ultra Cruise advanced driver assistance system will debut on the 2024 Cadillac CELESTIQ. All of the company’s hands-free technology has debuted on Cadillacs and then the technology has been shared with the other brands.

Cadillac has designed the all-new 2024 CELESTIQ to be not just a new standard of luxury but a whole new stratosphere of luxury. The $300,000 CELESTIQ will be hand built at the Warren Tech Center and nearly ever aspect of it will be customizable. No more than six vehicles will be assembled at any time. Buyers can choose from hundreds of exterior paint colors as well as hundreds of interior colors. The designers use several different terms to describe the electric ultra-luxury sedan: handcrafted artistry, bespoke, personalized and customized.

The Cadillac CELESTIQ is Cadillac’s new flagship, designed to reestablish Cadillac as the “Standard of the World”. It is aiming for Rolls-Royce and Bugatti levels of luxury. Ultra Cruise will provide the driver with GM's ultimate level of advanced driver assistance to match its other levels of luxury.

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Mary Conway is a professional automotive journalist and has decades of experience specializing in automotive news analysis. She covered the Detroit Three for more than twenty years for the ABC affiliate, in Detroit. Her affection for the Motor City comes naturally. Her father ran a gas station while Mary was growing up, in Wisconsin.

Follow Mary Conway at @maryconwaymedia and send her car news tips for future stories.

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