Ditman said GM has not begun testing Ultra Cruise on public roads but that the system will be fully vetted before its release, in contrast to Tesla’s reliance on its customers as Full Self-Driving beta testers.

“GM’s fundamental strategy for all ADAS features, including Ultra Cruise, is safely deploying these technologies,” Ditman said in a statement Tuesday. “A deep knowledge of what Ultra Cruise is capable of, along with the detailed picture provided by its sensors, will help us understand when Ultra Cruise can be engaged and when to hand control back to the driver. We believe consistent, clear operation can help build drivers’ confidence in Ultra Cruise.”

Ultra Cruise initially will be offered on high-end vehicles, Ditman said, while Super Cruise, which functions only on highways, has expanded to mass-market models such as the Chevrolet Silverado. Ultra Cruise will spread beyond the Celestiq — a $300,000 hand-built sedan — more quickly than GM rolled out Super Cruise to multiple vehicles, he said.

Because testing has not been completed, Ditman declined to specify exactly how much of Ultra Cruise would be enabled when Celestiq deliveries begin early next year.

“Whatever we have ready to safely deploy at that point in time will be on the car,” he said. “All the hardware will be there.”

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