GM recently announced that its hands-free driver assist system, Ultra Cruise, will be powered by a scalable compute architecture featuring system-on-chips developed by semiconductor company Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. GM says it will be the first company to use the 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 is about the size of two laptops stacked together and will be available in 2023 on vehicles. With high performance sensor interfaces and memory bandwidth, it will be key to helping Ultra Cruise achieve capability, reliability, predictability, and robust door-to-door hands-free driving in 95% of all driving scenarios, according to a news release.
“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.”
The Ultra Cruise compute will help power GM-developed ADAS software and features, including perception, planning, localization, and mapping. These Ultra Cruise capabilities were developed at GM engineering facilities in Israel, the United States, Ireland, and Canada. To ensure a robust and predictable system with minimal latency, GM integrated Ultra Cruise’s software on an optimal hardware design, overlaying cameras, radar, and LiDAR. This low-level, sensor fusion and Ultra Cruise’s software stack are proprietary to GM, and is not available on the automotive aftermarket.
“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.”
Along with Snapdragon Ride SoCs, the compute includes an Infineon Aurix TC397 processor for system safety integrity. The Aurix TC397 is categorized ASIL-D – the highest Automotive Safety Integrity Level.
GM opted for an air-cooled instead of liquid-cooled system to avoid heavy and inefficient thermal cooling lines throughout the vehicle.
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.