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GM plans Door-to-Door Hands-Free Driving
- January 17, 2022
- William Payne
GM is developing a new advanced driver assist system for its future luxury models that will feature door to door hands-free driving. The planned hands-free driver assist system, Ultra Cruise, will be powered by Qualcomm SoCs. GM will become the first company to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Ride Platform for advanced driver assistance technology, which features a 5-nanometer Snapdragon SA8540P SoC and SA9000P artificial intelligence accelerator.
Ultra Cruise’s compute, which is about the size of two laptops stacked together, will be available in 2023 on vehicles including the fully-electric Cadillac CELESTIQ.
The Ultra Cruise compute will help power GM-developed ADAS software and features, including perception, planning, localisation and mapping. These Ultra Cruise capabilities were developed in-house at GM engineering facilities in Israel, the United States, Ireland and Canada. GM integrated Ultra Cruise’s software on a hardware design, overlaying cameras, radar and lidar. This low-level sensor fusion is designed to provide improved detection and classification of data, and together with Ultra Cruise’s software stack, is proprietary to GM and not available on the automotive aftermarket.
The Ultra Cruise compute is comprised of two Snapdragon SA8540P SoCs and one SA9000P AI accelerator to deliver key low-latency control functions on 16-core CPUs and high-performance AI compute of more than 300 Tera Operations Per Second for camera, radar and lidar processing. The Snapdragon SoCs are designed with 5 nm process technology, enabling superior performance and power efficiency. The Snapdragon SA8540P SoCs will provide the necessary bandwidth for Ultra Cruise’s sensing, perception, planning, localisation, mapping and driver monitoring.
Along with Snapdragon Ride SoCs, which are designed to meet automotive system safety standards with multiple redundancies built in, the compute includes an Infineon Aurix TC397 processor for system safety integrity. The Aurix TC397 is categorised ASIL-D – the highest Automotive Safety Integrity Level.
GM minimised complexity within the compute, opting for an air-cooled instead of liquid-cooled system that avoids heavy and inefficient thermal cooling lines throughout the vehicle, made possible by Snapdragon Ride’s high-performance, high-efficiency design.
Ultra Cruise’s compute will also have the capability to evolve over time by leveraging Snapdragon Ride’s SoCs performance and high-speed interfaces for future expansion, as well as over-the-air software updates enabled through the Ultifi software platform and GM’s Vehicle Intelligence Platform electrical architecture.
“Despite its relatively small size, Ultra Cruise’s compute will have the processing capability of several hundred personal computers,” said Ken Morris, GM vice president of Electric, Autonomous and Fuel Cell Vehicle Programs. “It will take qualities that have distinguished GM’s advanced driver assist systems since 2017 to the next level with door-to-door hands-free driving.”
“We are very proud of our collaboration with General Motors on one of the industry’s first uses of our Snapdragon SoCs in an automated driving system,” said Nakul Duggal, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. senior vice president and GM, Automotive. “Ultra Cruise powered by Snapdragon Ride on Cadillac vehicles will be an experiential and technological leap forward for the industry.”