GM is doubling the size of its Super Cruise network in the US and Canada

Since introducing its Super Cruise advanced driver assistance suite to the Cadillac CT6 in 2017, General Motors has continually worked to expand the number of lidar-mapped roads the system can handle hands-free. The SuperCruise network initially expanded in 2019 from 130,000 to 200,000 miles of shared highways and will soon double — to 400,000 miles across the U.S. and Canada — by the end of the year, GM announced Wednesday.

The Super Cruise system – and its successor, the Ultra Cruise – relies on a mix of high-fidelity LiDAR maps, GPS, and built-in visual and radar sensors to know where the vehicle is on the road. So far, these maps, which dictate where features like hands-free driving can work, have only included large, divided highways like highways with the big middle barriers. Smaller, undivided public highways — also known as state routes — have not been considered previously, in part because of the additional ADAS challenges posed by oncoming traffic.

“This expansion will allow Super Cruise to operate on some additional divided highways, but the big news is that the majority of the expansion will allow Super Cruise to operate on non-divided highways,” said David Craig, Chief of Maps at GM, call Tuesday. “These undivided highways are typically the state and federal highways … connecting the smaller cities and towns in the United States and Canada.”

That is much.

GM

These include Route 66, the Pacific Coast Highway (aka CA Route 1), the Overseas Highway (aka US Route 1), and the Trans-Canada Highway. “If you look at I-35, which is the freeway that runs north and south through the central United States, and look west, you will see that Super Cruise coverage currently only includes the major freeways, which is pretty sparse,” Craig continued. “But in the expansion you can see that it’s just a spider web of roads covering the entire area. All the small townships will now be linked together.”

That is much.

GM

GM executives said in a press briefing Tuesday that every new Super Cruise-capable GM vehicle that rolls off the assembly line will come with the full 400,000-mile capabilities, as will 2021 and 2022 GM vehicles that will ship with the VIP (Vehicle Intelligence Platform) equipped. Architecture like the Escalade and CT5 later in 2022 via OTA update. Vehicles with Super Cruise but without VIP that ultimately cannot be upgraded to Ultra Cruise, such as early CT6 models, will receive a minor update.

There is no impact on the annual Super Cruise subscription cost, but you must already have the Super Cruise hardware installed. GM executives noted during the call that people who bought SC-enabled vehicles during the chip shortage that didn’t have the SC hardware installed can’t go back and retrofit the system to take advantage of this update. Overall, GM hopes to offer nearly two dozen Super Cruise-capable vehicle models by the 2023 model year

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Russell Falcon

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