Lucid Motors Unveils its ‘DreamDrive' Advanced Driver Assist System for the Upcoming Air Sedan

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【Summary】California-based electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors said its ultra-luxurious and fully-electric Air sedan will feature an advanced driver assist system (ADAS) called “DreamDrive”, which the company says sets a new benchmark for vehicle ADAS in the auto industry.

Eric Walz    Sep 03, 2020 6:00 AM PT
Lucid Motors Unveils its ‘DreamDrive' Advanced Driver Assist System for the Upcoming Air Sedan

California luxury electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors is getting ready to start production of its first vehicle called the Lucid Air sedan, which is poised to compete with the Tesla Model S and other luxury EV such as the Audi e-tron, BMW i4 and Porsche Taycan

Lucid said its ultra-luxurious and fully-electric Air sedan will come with one of the world's most advanced electric powertrains. But the Air will also feature an advanced driver assist system (ADAS) Lucid calls "DreamDrive" to help keep occupants and road users safe. Today, Lucid shared details of DreamDrive for the first time, which the company says sets a new benchmark for vehicle ADAS in the auto industry.

Lucid says the Air will be the first electric vehicle offered with the combination of an advanced sensor suite that includes high-resolution LIDAR and driver monitoring system. In addition, the entire DreamDrive system is built upon a fully redundant platform that can operate in the event that one of the individual components fails. 

"Lucid Motors is laser-focused on delivering the world's best luxury car, embodying the most advanced powertrain and safety systems possible, all designed and developed in-house," said Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO, Lucid Motors. "Our customers expect that philosophy to extend to the Lucid Air's ADAS, and for that we've developed a highly advanced, future-proof system that brings forth an unparalleled combination of sensors and software."

The DreamDrive technology suite in the Lucid Air sedan supports 19 key safety, driving, and parking assist features to make everyday driving safer. The company said that another eight features will be made available in the future via over-the-air (OTA) updates. 

Additional DreamDrive updates in development by Lucid will enable Level 3 autonomous driving in certain situations, the company said.

DreamDrive will be standard on the upcoming Air sedan, the EV startup's first electric vehicle.

"We have developed Lucid DreamDrive to be among the most advanced ADAS to ever be offered to consumers," said Dr. Eugene Lee, Senior Director, ADAS and Autonomous Driving, Lucid Motors. "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." 

To support all of the safety features of DreamDrive, the Lucid Air will come with a total of 32 sensors, which include cameras, radars and a front-facing, long-range LIDAR sensor. Also included is an in-car, driver monitoring system that's designed to share relevant information with the driver and to ensure that they are paying attention to the road.

Like Tesla's electric vehicles, the entire DreamDrive system in the Air can be updated OTA, so it will always run the latest version of DreamDrive. By offering OTA updates, Lucid will be able to add new and imporved features as they are developed, such as those for higher levels of automated driving.

The DreamDrive ADAS suite includes Surround View Monitoring, Blind Spot Display, Cross Traffic Protection, Traffic Sign Recognition, Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), as well a driver alert system that makes sure the driver is paying attention to the road ahead.

DreamDrive also includes Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Centering for safer highway driving, as well as Autonomous Parking Assist.


The ultra-luxury, fully-electric Lucid Air sedan.

Advanced ADAS Comes Before Self-Driving Cars

Advanced driver assist systems such as DreamDrive, are viewed as a precursor in the auto industry towards fully-automated driving that requires little human intervention, which is still years away. However in the meantime, many of the same advanced technologies including the hardware that support Level 2 and 3 autonomous driving can be utilized today to make current vehicles safer.

The laser technology Lidar for example, acts as an extra set of eyes and can identify other vehicles or pedestrians far ahead of the vehicle, even at night. Lidar can detect a pedestrian in the roadway well before a human driver sees one. Even up to 150 meters away. 

In addition, breakthroughs in computer vision processing have led to forward-facing vehicle cameras combined with machine learning software that's capable of identifying road signs and lane markers. These same cameras are used to keep some of today's vehicles centered in a highway lane, using computer vision software to map out lane boundaries.

Many vehicles today include some type of camera or radar, which is used for features such as adaptive cruise control that can automatically adjust a vehicle's speed to match the current flow of traffic. While these systems are not considered to be fully-automated, they can make driving much safer for all road users. 


The Lucid Air's interior. (Photo: Lucid Motors)

DreamDrive is Built on a High-Speed Ethernet Ring

Lucid's DreamDrive is also the first ADAS system built upon a high-speed Ethernet Ring, the company claims. The ADAS Ethernet Ring is an important part of Lucid Air's advanced electric architecture. It supports the fully redundant platform for vehicle steering, brakes, on-board sensors, and more for a much higher level of overall safety. 

Ethernet rings are commonly used in computer networking to enable large amounts of data to flow through multiple connection points. The configuration offers a high-level of redundancy to maintain the connection points in the event of a component failure, which is why Lucid chose this vehicle electrical architecture for its ADAS.

Each vehicle safety system hardware component is connected in rings, or "closed loops." This redundancy is what maintains the integrity of the ADAS if any individual component fails.

Lucid designed the Ethernet Ring with redundant independent power sources and communications paths, fail-operational actuators, and fault-tolerant processors in order to make it fail-safe.

The company said it worked with leading commercial partners to supply the components for DreamDrive's hardware systems, including HD mapping company Here Technologies, and leading global automotive component suppliers Continental and Bosch. 

California-based Lucid Motors is one the many new EV startups following in Tesla's lead, which is now the world's most valuable automaker. Lucid even traces its roots back to Tesla. The company's CEO and CTO Peter Rawlinson was the chief designer of the Tesla Model S and worked under CEO Elon Musk.

In 2013, Rawlinson joined Lucid and set out to build an electric car with a much more advanced electric powertrain and a higher level of luxury than the Tesla Model S.

Rawlinson assembled a vehicle team at Lucid that included former Tesla engineers who worked on the Model S. The Lucid team set out to make a better electric car.

Although the Lucid Air sedan is smaller than a Tesla Model S, Rawlinson said that the car offers as much interior space as a large Mercedes S-class sedan due to the configuration of the battery and powertrain, which opens up the interior space.

Lucid says its ultra-luxurious Air sedan will be the "world's most advanced electric car" and define Lucid as a company. The Air will offer around 400 miles of range and can reach 0-60 mph in under 2.5 seconds. The electric powertrain of the Air produces over 1,000 horsepower.

Lucid Motors is also a well-funded EV startup. In Sept 2018, the company announced $1 billion in funding from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF). The PIF fund is also a major investor in ride-sharing company Uber. In June 2016, the PIF acquired roughly a 5% stake in Uber with an investment of $3.5 billion, the largest ever single investment in the ride-sharing company at the time.

The production version of the Lucid Air will debut on September 9, 2020 in a special online event. Lucid originally planned to reveal a near production-ready version of the Air at the New York Auto Show this past April, but the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic so the unveiling was moved to September.

Lucid will also reveal new details about production specifications, available configurations, and pricing information on Sept 9.

Assembly of the Lucid Air sedan will take place at the company's new factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, which is currently under construction. 

Deliveries of the Air sedan are set to begin in early 2021.

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