- Lucid reveals details of DreamDrive advanced driver-assist system, designed to offer semi-autonomous features and upgrades via OTA updates.
- The automaker’s system will include driver attention monitoring to make sure drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel, pointing to Level 2 capability.
- Lucid says it is working on Level 3 features as well, which will be functional in some driving conditions.
This week Lucid Motors, just days after starting production of its 520-mile Air sedan, has revealed the first details of its DreamDrive advanced driver-assist system, which is expected to compete with Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving systems, among others. The system boasts 32 sensor inputs, including ultrasonic and radar sensors, 18 cameras, solid-state Lidar, and sensors to monitor driver attention.
DreamDrive will offer a group of features dubbed Highway Pilot, which combines adaptive cruise control with lane centering, as well as Traffic Jam Assist, which will function at speeds between zero and 40 mph, working to center the electric sedan in the lane in tight traffic and respond to the movement of other vehicles around it. “An infrared driver camera tracks head position, eye gaze, and blinking, while hands-off detection prompts the driver to return their hands to the steering wheel immediately,” the automaker notes.
DreamDrive will also offer an Auto Park feature, which will allow the sedan to identify parallel and perpendicular spots and will enter them automatically, managing steering and drive inputs.
The hardware behind the system is something Lucid calls an Ethernet Ring, which is a high-speed data network that uses four computer gateways, each positioned in one of the four corners of the sedan, to relay data at gigabit speeds, allowing for system redundancy and quick data transmission.
“DreamDrive Pro has been designed to grow in capability, thanks to our ability to deliver software over-the-air and key equipment already in place in the vehicle,” said Eugene Lee, senior director of advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving at Lucid Motors. “Thanks to highly integrated hardware and software teams, Lucid has the ability to develop new functionality for DreamDrive Pro in-house. This can benefit every facet of the DreamDrive Pro experience, from the frequency of updates to the planned rollout of the Highway Pilot system for conditional automated driving on select roadways in the coming years.”
At this point it’s prudent to note just what DreamDrive does not promise.
For starters, it does not promise that drivers will be able to take their attention off the road. It also does not promise that drivers will be able to keep their hands off the steering wheel, because driver monitoring sensors will make sure that they do so at all times. So there are certainly a few caveats here that point to a system with no eyes-off, brain-off capabilities of Level 3 and Level 4 systems, some of which are already available in other vehicles. For now, it appears that it will be a purely Level 2 system, like Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD.
The company does mention that Level 3 capabilities are in the works, at least for limited circumstances.
“The Lucid DreamDrive technology suite supports 19 key safety, driving, and parking assist features that will be available on Lucid Air immediately upon start of production, with another eight features expected to be available later via over-the-air (OTA) updates. Additional DreamDrive capabilities to enable Level 3 driving in certain conditions are also in development,” Lucid said in 2020.
The company also adds that Highway Pilot with conditional hands-free capability is something that will be offered in the future.
While the major hardware advantage with Lucid’s system could be the inclusion of solid-state lidar, something that Tesla has shunned over the years in favor of transitioning to a camera-only system, DreamDrive appears to be taking a very careful approach to Level 2 autonomy to the point of not offering hands-free driving at the moment, unlike GM’s upcoming Ultra Cruise system. So while it will certainly feature a far fuller sensor suite than that offered by other advanced driver-assist systems on the market, it won’t be pushing the envelope for the time being.