Lucid Motors just introduced DreamDrive, the startup’s version of a Tesla-style Autopilot for their upcoming luxury electric vehicles. Described as a Level 2 autonomous driving program, the advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) will be included with the company’s first Lucid Air sedans set to be delivered to customers in 2021.
“DreamDrive will offer the most comprehensive sensor suite on the market,” the carmaker’s announcement stated. “And it’s expected to be the first combining LIDAR with an innovative driver monitoring system as standard equipment.”
To substantiate their claims, Lucid’s DreamDrive is said to have 32 multimodal sensors with the most up-to-date technology. Altogether, 19 driver-assist features will be available when the system is launched with eight more on the way to be delivered via over-the-air updates. Notably, a few features of DreamDrive may be familiar to current Tesla drivers such as Surround View Monitoring, Traffic Signal Recognition, and Autonomous Parking Assist.
“DreamDrive is fully future-proofed — and ready for upgrades to Level 3 features as they become available,” the nascent carmaker additionally stated. “It’s also the first ADAS system built on a high-speed Ethernet Ring electric architecture, which also serves as a fully redundant platform for key functions like steering, brakes, and sensors.”
Lucid’s decision to lean on a LIDAR system for its self-driving software suite is one area where the company diverges from Tesla’s approach. During last year’s Autonomy Day, Tesla CEO Elon Musk expressed his distaste for the technology.
“LIDAR is a fool’s errand, and anyone who relies on LIDAR is doomed. It’s like having expensive appendices. You’ll see,” Musk said. This sentiment looks to be based on how neural networks’ inspiration – the human brain – works. “You all used your own neural network in your brains to get here. You didn’t shoot lasers from your eyes to drive,” Tesla’s Sr. Director of Artificial Intelligence, Andrej Karpathy, joked during the same event. However, while Musk’s company may be moving away from LIDAR, many others in the self-driving arena still use the tech as a central part of their autonomous software. Alphabet’s Waymo, for instance, takes this approach.
More details about DreamDrive will be revealed at Lucid’s upcoming online event on September 9th this year, according the the recent announcement. Alongside further self-driving system information, the production version of the Air vehicle will finally be revealed. Lucid’s flagship sedan is said to have a 400+ mile range, 1,000+ horsepower, and a 235 mph top speed. CEO Peter Rawlinson also confirmed in comments last week that a future variant will have a .21 drag coefficient (Cd), thought to be the lowest Cd of a luxury production-intent vehicle.