The automotive world is seeing a co-evolution when it comes to electric powertrains and autonomous features. It is basically impossible at this point to announce an electric car without touching on any possible autonomous driving features that it might have. If you want a competitive electric car, it’s going to need some sort of driving assistance features. With the in mind, Lucid Motors is trying to release as competitive of an electric car as they possibly can with the announcement of their DreamDrive advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS), which will no doubt be compared to Tesla’s Autopilot.
The Lucid Air is one of the most promising future Model S competitors that we have seen. Not only are the promised powertrain specifications great (400+ mile range, 2.5 sec 0-60 time), but now Lucid has shown that it intends to compete with Tesla’s Autopilot as well.
DreamDrive’s claim to fame is that one of its 32 sensors is actually a high-resolution LIDAR, along with the standard suite of regular cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors. If you have been following the development of Tesla’s Autopilot, you know that Tesla had forgone going with LIDAR and relying solely on cameras for their imaging. This was the opposite decision of basically every other autonomous driving company such as Waymo, which chose to include LIDAR in their suite of sensors.
Tesla’s argument against LIDAR primarily went towards its size and high cost (and presumably not wanting to retrofit hundreds of thousands of sold models to add in an extra sensor). The Lucid Air will have the first electric car that will come to market with LIDAR included. This theoretically should allow Lucid at least some sort of advantage when it comes to data collection, but the company is not promising Level 5 autonomy thus far. The Air will come ready with Level 2, and could be updated to Level 3 autonomy via over-the-air updates.
Dr. Eugene Lee, Senior Director, ADAS and Autonomous Driving, remarked:
“We have developed Lucid DreamDrive to be among the most advanced ADAS to ever be offered to consumers. By prioritizing safety and updateability, DreamDrive also sets the stage for offering increasingly sophisticated driver assistance features. We have ensured that the Lucid DreamDrive hardware and software platform not only offers a full suite of Level 2 features, but is also Level 3 ready, which means we’ll be able to quickly add features and functions over-the-air throughout the lifetime of Lucid Air and for future Lucid models.”
The DreamDrive suite includes 19 different ADAS features, with eight more that will make their way via OTA updates. Some of the different features that Lucid shared include:
- Surround View Monitoring
- Blind Spot Display
- Cross Traffic Protection
- Traffic Sign Recognition
- Automatic Emergency Braking
- Alerts for distracted or drowsy drivers
- Full Speed Highway Assist (Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Centering)
- Traffic Drive-Off Alert
- Headlight Assist
- Autonomous Parking Assist
- Pullout Control
- Maneuver Comfort Braking
Looking at the feature list (which again, is not complete), we can assume the Lucid Motor has at least matched Tesla’s base Autopilot, which is the most used feature. At this time it does not seem like there is a Navigate-on-Autopilot feature at this point. Currently, Tesla’s most advanced feature allows for the car to recognize traffic lights and stop signs and act accordingly. While it seems like the Lucid Air will be able to recognize traffic signs, it is unclear if traffic lights are included and/or if the car will be able to react to them autonomously.
With no Level 3 features available right out of the gate, the Lucid Air will probably not have some features that Tesla’s Autopilot will have in 2021, but the disparity might be lessened with feature updates that allow for Level 3 autonomy. It will be interesting to see the impact that LIDAR has on Lucid’s DreamDrive as it will be the first chance we get to see if Tesla has made the right choice in keeping with only cameras.
We are only a little over a month from the Lucid Air’s production unveil which is set for an online reveal on September 9th.
What do you guys think of the system? Will is be able to compete with Autopilot? Let us know down in the comments below.