Lucid Motors Reveals the Elegant ‘Lucid User Experience' for the Upcoming Air Sedan
【Summary】Luxury-performance electric vehicle startup and Tesla challenger Lucid Motors unveiled its technology-packed Lucid User Experience (Lucid UX) on Wednesday which will be the foundation on how drivers and passengers interact with the controls and features in the electric Lucid Air sedan, the company’s first vehicle.
Luxury-performance electric vehicle startup and Tesla challenger Lucid Motors unveiled its technology-packed Lucid User Experience (Lucid UX) on Wednesday which will be the foundation on how drivers and passengers interact with the controls and features in the electric Lucid Air sedan, the company's first vehicle.
The Lucid Air is an ultra luxurious electric sedan designed to compete with high-end electric and gas-powered models from Tesla, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi and Porsche. The top of the line Air Dream Edition, which is already sold out, will have a range of over 500 miles and will produce up to 1,080 horsepower from its advanced electric, all-wheel-drive powertrain.
The more mainstream version of the Lucid Air is available to reserve now with a starting price of $77,400, before any EV tax credits.
The Air sedan is designed to be one of the world's most technologically advanced vehicles, and the Lucid UX is made possible by a stunning 34-inch, ultra-wide 5K Glass Cockpit that stretches across the dashboard in front of the driver. It's designed for "intuitive, effortless, and elegant interaction with Lucid Air," the company said.
"In much the same way that a holistic, clean-sheet approach to design and engineering has made possible the revolutionary packaging and efficiency of Lucid Air, this built-from-the-ground-up strategy has also enabled the creation of Lucid UX, a truly innovative human-machine interface that is easy-to-use and aesthetically beautiful," said Derek Jenkins, Senior VP of Design and Brand, Lucid Motors. "Lucid UX retains specific aspects of a traditional physical interface and pairs those with an innovative digital form factor that's highly advanced and ergonomic, providing intuitive access to all vehicle systems."
Glass Cockpit and Pilot Panel
The interior of the luxury Lucid Air actually features two separate touch-screen displays, the 5K Glass Cockpit curved instrument display for the driver and the smaller display Lucid calls the Pilot Panel, which is centrally located lower console in the center of the dash for more in-depth vehicle controls. Both displays are contoured towards the driver for better visibility and ease of access.
The widescreen Glass Cockpit groups information and controls logically into three distinct sections, with a gentle sweeping curvature to not only the glass, but also the underlying displays themselves.
At the left of the screen are primary vehicle accessory controls, such as window defrosters, lighting, and wiper settings. On the right is an area for managing navigation, media, and communications.
The centrally positioned Pilot Panel serves as a larger space when users need more information. The driver or passenger can simply swipe menus downward from the Glass Cockpit to the Pilot Panel to display in-depth controls for music or navigation. It's sort of like using an external monitor with a laptop, where items on the screen can be dragged from one screen to the other. The Pilot Panel can also retract, revealing a convenient storage bin behind it.
The center cluster is designed to take full advantage of the flexibility of a digital display, showing speed and range information using a clean and uncluttered interface, Lucid says. Even the fonts were carefully selected for improved readability.
The display information and layout changes when certain features of Lucid's optional automated driving function called "Dream Drive" is activated. Once Dream Drive is selected by the driver, the screen is instantly reconfigured to a three-dimensional depiction of the Lucid Air on the road along with other nearby vehicles on the road.
Dream Drive is supported by 32 on-board sensors including what Lucid claims is the world's first embedded high-resolution LIDAR in a production EV.
Both the Glass Cockpit and the Pilot Panel were designed to blend with the rest of the vehicle interior to ensure a seamless transition between digital and physical, ultimately creating an interior that feels like a single coherent space, according to Lucid Motors.
Lucid UX is designed to be warm and inviting and even matches the colors of the vehicle interior design scheme of popular California destinations in Lucid's home state of California.
The Air's design choices pay homage to the natural beauty of California, including colors that reflect the coastal town of Santa Cruz and as well as Lake Tahoe and Mojave. The display colors are even matched to the fabrics and trims of the interior, which is unique in the auto industry, but its makes the luxurious interior feel like a more cohesive space.
Lucid said it worked in close collaboration with interior designers and software engineers throughout the development process, jointly identifying a set of commonly used vehicle features that would be best controlled with physical buttons rather than from the touchscreen, such as frequently accessed climate controls and window switches. The physical controls in the Air are located on the dashboard, doors, and steering wheel.
As part of Lucid's attention to detail in designing the Lucid Air, all of the buttons are crafted to feel solid, while still providing clear tactile feedback, according to Lucid.
Lucid said its design team went through over 100 iterations of different shapes, weights, damping, and detent placement as part of fine-tuning the tactile feedback for the user to make sure its just right.
This concept of unifying digital and physical controls also extends to the Air's 21-speaker Surreal Sound system, featuring the world's first integration of Dolby Atmos, a technology which is generally associated with blockbuster movie soundtracks.
With Dolby Atmos technology for audio, Lucid was able to direct sounds with precision throughout the interior of Lucid Air to create an immersive audio experience. Sounds are projected upward or front to back depending on their function. It can deliver directional auditory cues for alerts, notifications, and warnings to the driver and individual passengers depending on where they are seated.
Users can control many of the Air's features simply by using their voice, as Amazon's AI-powered Alexa voice assist is built in.
Lucid has also worked with outside tech companies like Apple to bring their popular features into the Lucid Air. The Air supports Apple CarPlay, for example. For Android users, Android Auto will also be offered, as well as popular music streaming services Spotify and iHeartRadio.
The Lucid UX can be updated with OTA software as new features and functions are rolled out. Lucid added integrated mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity allowing every Air sedan to receive Over-the-Air (OTA) software updates, including changes to pre-existing features based on customer feedback.
The Lucid UX was built around what the company calls the "Lucid Ethernet Ring" which protects individual electrical systems from any single point failure. This type of architecture is used in computer networks where high levels of reliability are required. By linking powerful processors throughout the vehicle with an innovative ethernet connection, vehicle systems can communicate with each other at gigabit speeds.
OTA software updates capability will also be used to keep the DreamDrive advanced driver assistance system always up to date with the latest features and functionality.
Lucid Air owners will also be able to use the Lucid mobile smartphone application to view charge status, check and set the climate controls to their liking, as well as preload driving directions to the Air's navigation system.
Earlier this month, Lucid Motors announced it hired former Waymo Treasurer & Head of Investor Relations Sherry House, as Chief Financial Officer, along with three other industry veterans, as the company prepares for the launch of the luxury-electric Lucid Air sedan and the company's upcoming IPO.
Lucid Motors CEO Peter Rawlingson was a former Tesla VP of vehicle engineering and worked under Elon Musk as chief designer of the Tesla Model S. Now Tesla will be one of Lucid's biggest competitors.
Based on what we know about the Lucid Air sedan's features and advanced technology, it will be one of the world's most advanced electric cars.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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