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Ultra Cruise Driver Assist Will Include Lidar

point cloud image GM Ultra Cruise with Lidar
GM Ultra Cruise with Lidar

General Motors’ next-generation Ultra Cruise driver-assist system will come equipped with lidar as well as several other high-tech sensors designed to enable hands-free driving and cover “95 percent” of driving maneuvers, the automaker announced today.

In its first major update since announcing Ultra Cruise in late 2021, the automaker outlined several of the sensors that will power the driver-assist system, including cameras, short- and long-range radar, and a lidar sensor. The vehicles will also come with an all-new computer to process the data input from the sensors, which the automaker previously indicated would include Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Ride Platform.

According to a pair of diagrams provided by GM, the lidar will be located inside the vehicle, behind the windshield and under the rearview mirror, where other automakers typically install sensors for advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS). Cameras can be found on the sideview mirrors, short-range radar in the lower corners of the grille and rear bumper, and long-range radars underneath the hood ornament and beneath the taillights.

“This will give us a 360-degree view around the vehicle to enable us to expand this hands free driving capability to these larger domains,” Jason Ditman, chief engineer at GM, told reporters in a briefing Monday. Ditman also said that drivers would be able to use Ultra Cruise “across nearly every paved road in the US and Canada.”
Lidar, a key ingredient in autonomous driving, is a laser sensor that uses near-infrared light to detect the shapes of objects. This helps autonomous vehicles “see” other objects on the road, like cars, pedestrians, and cyclists, all without the help of GPS or a network connection.

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