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  • G. David Felt
    G. David Felt

    GM Next Gen Ultra Cruise to enable Door-to-Door Hands-Free Driving with New Compute Architecture

      GM's multi-cultural global engineering team with American Semiconductor company Qualcomm Technologies to usher in the next generation of Ultra Cruise with robust door-to-door hands-free driving in 95 percent of all driving scenarios.

    Years of collaboration between GM and Qualcomm has brought many robust industry leading features to GM's autos globally. Now GM and Qualcomm have moved forward again in showing their collaboration of the first dedicated Snapdragon system-on-chips with robust data processing for the next generation of Ultra Cruise advanced driver assistance system.

    GM will be the first auto company to use the Qualcomm Technologies Snapdragon Ride Platform for advanced driver assistance technology. This features an industry-leading 5-nanometer Snapdragon SA8540P SoC and SA9000P artificial intelligence accelerator.

    This is not the first time that engineering from the U.S., Israel, Canada and Ireland have worked on a global version of Ultra Cruise. In the upcoming 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ we get the first generation of Ultra Cruise with Snapdragon. A very solid Level 3 hands free driving on the highway. Yet GM is pushing itself to become an Auto industry leader of technology and with its Collaboration with Qualcomm and the in-house engineering resources the next generation of Ultra Cruise will be on the all-New Snapdragon Ride Platform which is about the size of two laptops stacked together and will debut on the 2023 Cadillac CELESTIQ.

    The Ultra Cruise computer is a high performance sensor interface with memory bandwidth running the Ultra Cruise software stack that will be the key in helping Ultra Cruise achieve an unmatched combination of capability, reliability, predictability and robust door-to-door hands-free driving in 95 percent of all driving scenarios.

    Ken Morris, GM vice president of Electric, Autonomous and Fuel Cell Vehicle Programs has stated: “Despite its relatively small size, Ultra Cruise’s compute will have the processing capability of several hundred personal computers,” “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.”

    Ultra Cruise compute platform

    The newest Ultra Cruise software has been integrated into an optimal hardware design that starts with the Snapdragon Ride Platform and goes on to use a combination of overlaying cameras, radar and LiDAR. This low-level, sensor fusion, which provides excellent detection and classification of data, and the Ultra Cruise's software stack are a proprietary package not available to the automotive aftermarket and surpasses any hands-free system offered by any other auto company here in the US, Europe or Asia.

    The Ultra Cruise Computer system is comprised of two Snapdragon SA8540P SoCs and one SA9000P AI accelerators 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, localization, mapping and driver monitoring.

    GM and Qualcomm are very proud of their global multi-Cultural collaboration in the first uses of the Snapdragon SoCs platform for automated driving. To quote the press release: “Ultra Cruise powered by Snapdragon Ride on Cadillac vehicles will be an experiential and technological leap forward for the industry.”

    Less people look to the past of new technology problems, the Ultra Cruise compute on the Snapdragon Ride SoCs have been designed to meet automotive system safety standards with multiple individual redundancies built in. The compute platform includes an Infineon Aurix TC397 processor for system safety integrity. The Aurix TC397 is categorized ASIL-D the highest Automotive Safety Integrity Level.

    To minimized complexity, the Ultra Cruise Snapdragon Ride Platform has been designed with air-cooled instead of liquid-cooled system to avoid heavy and inefficient thermal cooling lines throughout the auto. This has been made possible by the Snapdragon Ride's high-performance, high-efficiency design. 

    Less people feel this will be a limiting system of updates, GM choose to incorporate the Ultra Cruise's computer with the ability to evolve over time by leveraging the Snapdragon Ride's SoCs performance and high-speed interfaces for future expansion, including over-the-air updates that can include new feature/functions enabled through the Ultifi software platform and GM's Vehicle Intelligence Platform electrical architecture working with the Ultium platform to bring you the industry best auto's.

    Qualcomm had the following additional technical information in their press release to expand on what GM has released about the Snapdragon Ride Platform.


    The Snapdragon Digital Chassis is comprised of a set of open and scalable cloud-connected platforms that utilize a unified architecture to support enhanced safety and immersive digital experiences that are updateable throughout the lifetime of next-generation vehicles. Automakers have the option to adopt any or all of these platforms across their line-up to offer highly customizable experiences with features that are continually upgradable via the cloud.

    • Snapdragon Ride Platform – an open and programmable platform that addresses the full-spectrum of driver assistance and automated driving (AD) needs from New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) to L2+/L3; offering a scalable portfolio of system-on-chip (SoC) processors and accelerators for vision, central compute and high-performance AD needs; a turnkey Arriver™ based vision stack, a full set of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)/AD features and a flexible architecture that allows automakers and Tier-1 suppliers to bring their own Drive Policy, parking or driver monitoring stack, advanced navigation that can be integrated with Arriver Drive Policy elements. The platform also includes a full support for features, functional safety/SOTIF and system architecture competencies.
    • Snapdragon® Cockpit Platform – provides automakers an opportunity to transform the in-car experience to create new services through highly customizable always-connected SoC and virtualized software solutions that create a multi-display, multi-camera, premium audio, video and multimedia experience with mixed criticality environments that support consumer and safety ecosystems concurrently and safely 
    • Snapdragon® Auto Connectivity Platform – allows automakers to meet the increasing demands of safer and more immersive driving experiences powered by LTE, 5G connected services, cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and precise positioning, all of which are designed to securely connect vehicles to the cloud, each other and the surrounding environment
    • Snapdragon® Car-to-Cloud Services - provides automakers the ability to offer flexibility of features, performance upgrades and introduction of new functionality through pre-integrated software and services platforms designed for new monetization models

    “Qualcomm Technologies understands automakers’ needs for uniqueness and differentiation as well as the tremendous opportunity to redefine the automotive and transportation business model.  Through the Snapdragon Digital Chassis, we offer an array of open platforms to rapidly enable connected and intelligent experiences with enhanced safety features,” said Nakul Duggal, senior vice president and GM, automotive, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “The Snapdragon Digital Chassis allows platforms to stay continually up-to-date with new capabilities after vehicle purchase, while allowing the automaker to create new features and services for enhanced customer engagement and services-based business models.  We look forward to working with the automotive industry as well as our many partners to provide truly transformative innovations that are scalable, extensible and software-defined.”

    Interesting bit is that as you read through all the press releases about this new tech, while GM is the first to have it and will be out in the global market first, Volvo, BMW, Hyundai, Mahindra & Mahindra, WM Motors of China, SAIC Motors and JiDU automotive have all signed on to use the Snapdragon Ride Platform in their upcoming EVs with the first use in BEVs due out in 2024 models.

    GM is the launch customer and will be first out in 2022 in 2023 models.

    GM believes the Snapdragon Ride Platform will bring a full suite of Automotive Solutions to GM's Next-Generation Digital Cockpit and Telematics Systems as well as Advanced driver Assistance Systems.

    GM Brings Powerful New Compute Architecture to Ultra Cruise to Help Enable Door-to-Door Hands-Free Driving

    Automotive Redefined: Technology Showcase 2021 | Virtual Event | Qualcomm

    General Motors and Qualcomm Extend Long-Standing Relationship to Transform Next Generation Vehicles | Qualcomm

    Qualcomm Builds Momentum Around Snapdragon Digital Chassis to Define the Future of Automotive | Qualcomm

    Autonomous Driving | Snapdragon Ride ADAS Tech for Smart Cars | Qualcomm

    Cadillac rolls into Snapdragon Tech Summit 2021 [video] (qualcomm.com)

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    Its a very SOLID level 3 tho...  (on the highway)

    How solid you asked, again?

    A VERY solid.  But on the highway only.   Maybe.   No, for sure.  Because its a very solid #3. 



    Edited by oldshurst442
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    14 hours ago, riviera74 said:

    Unproven technology with no driver override.  Possibly very dangerous.  YOU go First!

    According to GM's self driving division I see they have been testing the Snapdragon Ride platform in the bolt driver free taxies in San Francisco. Will be interesting for sure and I have to believe their will be a driver override. That just makes common sense.


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    All I can say is; MAN are the tesla forums filled with outrage over the FSD scenario. Tesla just announced a 20% (let’s call it) market adjustment for the package, up from $10K (it once was $4K), to $12K, plus the MONTHLY CHARGE is also going to go up from the current $200.

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    4 hours ago, balthazar said:

    All I can say is; MAN are the tesla forums filled with outrage over the FSD scenario. Tesla just announced a 20% (let’s call it) market adjustment for the package, up from $10K (it once was $4K), to $12K, plus the MONTHLY CHARGE is also going to go up from the current $200.

    Let's not forget that Tesla pulled their LiDAR and Radar as they feel they can do full remote door-to-door with cameras only. They have already made a mistake by making the system cheaper in components while increasing the cost.

    Many coworkers who do have Tesla have bitched about the price increase, the technology weakening of the safety ability and that there is no longer the ability to get certain features in a lower cost package, if you want self-parking or the safety sensor reading while driving or backing up, you have to buy the full self-driving package.

    Overall, I would trust GM package of camera, Radar and LiDAR over Tesla any day.

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    On 1/18/2022 at 12:49 PM, balthazar said:

    All I can say is; MAN are the tesla forums filled with outrage over the FSD scenario. Tesla just announced a 20% (let’s call it) market adjustment for the package, up from $10K (it once was $4K), to $12K, plus the MONTHLY CHARGE is also going to go up from the current $200.

    And if you sell the car to a new owner, it gets disabled.  Which seems like a total scam to me.  If you pay for a feature on a car, it should be there forever.

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    These semi-autonomous systems that are level 2 and 3 I think have really little value to the consumer, especially not what Tesla wants to charge for it (when all the level 2 self driving stuff is standard on and S-class).  They do have crash avoidance, which should help reduce accidents, but at the same rate 2021 was a record year for accidents and traffic fatalities, even though cars are putting all this tech in.  

    Mercedes Drive Pilot is the first UN certified level 3 system, it is cleared for use in Germany, looks like they are working on America and other markets, but need regulatory approval.  I couldn't find a price for it, or if that will be standard, I am sure it won't be $12k like Tesla charges for a level 2 system.  

    If Ultra Cruise can deliver, this is a chance for GM to make it standard on all Cadillacs and stick it to Tesla.  At the least Super Cruise should be standard on all Cadillacs, and Ultra Cruise not a $12k option.  And Super Cruise has a monthly fee, I think they need to get rid of that, OEM's can get data and utilize that for profit like Google does.  I don't have to pay google to use their search or email, because they know how to monetize data and make money of things there are free to the consumer.

    Edited by smk4565
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