General Motors has something up its sleeve.
The battle for the best semi-autonomous driving technology is currently being led by two automakers, General Motors with its Super Cruise system and Tesla with Autopilot. Though Tesla offers a full self-driving option, GM's Super Cruise is one of the only systems that enables hands-free driving, giving it the slight advantage over Autopilot at the time of this writing.
GM will continue to expand Super Cruise's availability in the future. It's currently an option on the 2021 Cadillac Escalade but will soon expand to the CT4 and CT5 and other GM brands such as the 2022 GMC Sierra and 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV.
And if a recent patent filing is to be believed, Super Cruise may do more than expand; it will improve as well. GM recently applied for the name "Hyper Cruise" with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), hinting that an even better version of its semi-autonomous tech is on the way.
On January 13, 2021, the patent was filed in the Goods and Services category for an "Electronic speed and steering control system for facilitating the autonomous driving of a motor land vehicle, sold as an integral part thereof." The exact nature of Hyper Cruise remains unclear, however.
It could be a next-generation replacement for Super Cruise, or possibly a more advanced version that will be sold alongside it. GM previously filed a trademark for the name Ultra Cruise, but the name never appeared on a production model. Perhaps the company now prefers the word Hyper instead of Ultra.
If we analyze the wording of the patent, it's noteworthy that it says "autonomous driving" rather than semi-autonomous. Both of GM's previous patents for Super Cruise and Ultra Cruise used "semi-autonomous" wording, so perhaps Hyper Cruise will be more advanced than either of those systems. It may even offer full self-driving, as Tesla currently claims to offer. We will monitor the situation to see if GM announces anything concrete with the Hyper Cruise name.