General Motors is working on improved autopilotJanuary 19, 2021
There is a subtle but important difference in the way the three terms, Hyper Cruise, Super Cruise, and Ultra Cruise, are described in trademark patent applications.
General Motors marketed Super Cruise as a semi-autonomous driving system, and back in 2017 showed it off on the CT6 sedan. Since then, this technology has been carried over to the CT4 and CT5, where it has been updated with lane change support. The new Escalade SUV has the same feature that at least 22 vehicles will receive by 2023, including the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt EUV electric crossover.
Details of a more advanced semi-autonomous system surfaced in May 2020 when GM’s executive vice president of product development Doug Parks briefly mentioned Ultra Cruise technology. It offers true autonomous driving on certain highways and certain types of roads, but nothing has been heard about this technology since then. GM registered the Ultra Cruise trademark in September 2018, and now a similar term has been registered with the US Patent Office, Hyper Cruise.
The Hyper Cruise application was filed on January 13 and the term is described as intended for “autonomous driving” while the terms “Super Cruise” and “Ultra Cruise” are described as “semi-autonomous driving”. The only slight difference is that the newly registered trademark belongs to a more advanced system, possibly meeting the requirements of level 3.
It’s too early to tell how Ultra Cruise and Hyper Cruise differ, but legal action taken by GM suggests a more advanced autonomous driving system is in development. Meanwhile, starting in 2021, GM vehicles are getting Super Cruise, operating on more than 322,000 kilometers of motorways in the United States and Canada, with no hands on the wheel.
GM’s last announced Super Cruise model is the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali. The feature is available as a subscription for $ 25 per month or $ 300 per year. The rate is reduced to $ 15 per month, subject to an existing OnStar or GM Connected Services subscription.
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