Lucid is First with Lidar in the U.S.

The DreamDrive suite of ADAS in the new Lucid Air electric vehicle is supported by the company's proprietary Ethernet Ring, a high-speed data network enabling communication between crucial vehicle systems. (Lucid Motors)

As California-based electric vehicle (EV) startup Lucid rolls its first vehicles off the assembly line, the company has announced details of its all-encompassing and appropriately named advanced driving assistance system (ADAS) suite, DreamDrive. Lucid’s long-awaited flagship Air sedan benefits from more than 30 DreamDrive features, including collision avoidance, Traffic Jam Assist, and Highway Assist with infrared camera monitoring to ensure driver alertness as it arrives to customers in the weeks ahead. It is also the first automotive application of Lidar in the United States.

The DreamDrive system, which Lucid lauds as “the most technically sophisticated ADAS system,” utilizes 32 ultrasonic sensors that collect data during vehicle operation. These tiny units are seamlessly integrated into the Air’s exterior design, making them virtually unnoticeable to the eye. In addition, DreamDrive employs 14 visible-light cameras, five radar units, and four surround-view cameras to capture the vehicle’s exterior environment and road conditions. The entire system is supported by Lucid Air’s proprietary Ethernet Ring, a high-speed data network enabling communication between crucial vehicle systems.

Elevating Lucid’s ADAS suite to the next level with more processing power and sensor hardware is DreamDrive Pro. The upgraded system is standard on higher trim levels of the Lucid Air—Dream Edition and Grand Touring—and is optional for the rest of the model range. DreamDrive Pro software is programmed to receive new tech feature rollouts via future over-the-air updates.

In that vein, Lucid hints at offering Highway Pilot, a semi-autonomous feature with conditional hands-free driving capability on select roadways in the coming years. Many automakers are bringing similar systems to market to ease the burden of highway driving, from GM’s forthcoming Ultra Cruise to Volvo’s Pilot Assist.

“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 Dr. Eugene Lee, Senior Director, ADAS and Autonomous Driving, Lucid Motors. “Thanks to highly integrated hardware and software teams, Lucid has the ability to develop new functionality for DreamDrive Pro in-house.”

Beyond conventional ADAS equipment, Lucid says DreamDrive Pro is the first automotive installation of Lidar in North America. The solid-state Lidar sensor promises to combine high-resolution data with an ultra-wide field of view to “see” roadway hazards that may otherwise be undetectable to the driver. With Lidar, DreamDrive Pro acts as a virtual co-pilot, elevating safety and driver confidence, Lucid says.

However, Lidar is one of the key differentiators between Lucid’s ADAS strategy and that of its primary competitor, Tesla. Tesla’s pure vision-based approach to autonomous driving rejects Lidar, considering it an extraneous technology in the space. Lucid, on the other hand, having embraced Lidar, endeavors to surpass Tesla as a tech leader in mobility. Having already won the range war with Air Dream Edition’s 520 miles of all-electric capability, Lucid clearly has ambitions to dominate over Tesla wherever possible.

DreamDrive uses an intuitive human-machine interface with vibrant graphic displays to connect with the driver within the Lucid Air sedan. Furthering that connection is DreamDrive Pro’s use of Surreal Sound, a 21-speaker audio system that delivers directional alerts, giving extra measure to the various collision warning and avoidance features.

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