- lucid will equip its upcoming air electric sedan with standard lidar and in-car monitoring for future level 3 self-driving capability in what it calls dreamdrive.
- the air will launch with less tech than what tesla currently offers, but within a year it will likely be on par with cadillac’s super cruise hands-free system and within three years, will have level 3 hands off and eyes-off capabilities, which no automaker currently offers.
- the vehicles are not planned to become level 4 ready because lucid sees level 3 as a goal it can achieve without adding additional cost to its vehicles.
lucid motors has announced that its upcoming air luxury electric vehicle will have standard lidar and in-car driver monitoring. its 32 sensors, the company says, will make the vehicle hardware ready for an eventual over-the-air update to allow level 3 driving. that will mean the car can manage most aspects of driving and monitoring, but the driver must be prepared to take over when the vehicle or road conditions so indicate. for those keeping score, tesla ceo elon musk has gone on record as disdaining lidar, which he thinks is unnecessary, and cadillac's super cruise driver-assist technology doesn't use it, either.
the air will have a high-resolution lidar sensor positioned at the front of the vehicle. this is in addition to cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors that will also come standard on the air. at launch, every air ev will have level 2 driver-assist capabilities such as lane centering and adaptive cruise control. level 3 capabilities are still in development and will be pushed to vehicles via an over-the-air update when ready, which the company estimates will be in about three years. this update would empower the car to manage most aspects of driving under specific conditions. drivers can take their hands and eyes off the driving task, but the system can require the driver to take over when it can't manage a situation.
"by prioritizing safety and updatability, 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," said eugene lee, lucid's senior director of driver-assist systems and autonomous driving.
between the initial offering of level 2 and level 3, which should be available in about three years, the automaker plans to launch a hands-free system similar to cadillac's super cruise about a year after the vehicles are delivered to customers.
like super cruise, lucid's system will use the sensor suite, an in-car monitor, and high-definition maps. the automaker will use these maps for driving and to geofence the level 3 feature so that drivers can't initiate the capabilities while in an area that's not suitable for that type of driving. it's not the first to want to bring level 3 to a production vehicle.
audi's traffic jam pilot was to have a level 3 system before the automaker decided not to deploy it to its a8 due to legislative hangups. lucid's lee told car and driver that the company will abide by regional laws and use the geofence built into the level 3 system to keep drivers from using it where it's not legal.
as for level 4 capability, which allows operation of the vehicle with no human input? that won't be available on the air. "our strategy is to deploy productionizable and customer benefit technology in the near term," lee told c/d. "level 4 requires more sensors, more computing, more redundancy, and that really adds up to more cost in the vehicle." instead, lucid sees level 3 as a near-term goal it can achieve and deliver to customers.
lucid's air luxury ev is aimed at those wanting mercedes s-class luxury in an electric vehicle. that's something the company believes tesla's model s doesn't offer. the production version of the vehicle will debut on september 9, and deliveries are slated to begin in early 2021.