Electric-vehicle startup Lucid has just launched its first product on the market, the 2022 Air luxury sedan.
Every Air comes with an electronic driver-assist system Lucid has branded DreamDrive. Think of it as Lucid’s version of Tesla Autopilot.
The system supports dozens of functions, including traffic-sign recognition, distracted/drowsy driver monitoring, adaptive cruise control with lane centering and traffic jam assist, as well as automatic parking (parallel and perpendicular), and Lucid plans to add more functionality via over-the-air updates as they are developed. A key update said to be coming soon is a self-driving system for highways.
There’s a standard DreamDrive as well as the more advanced DreamDrive Pro. DreamDrive Pro is standard on the Air’s Dream Edition and Grand Touring grades, but optional on the rest. It features 32 sensors, including multiple cameras, radar units, ultrasonic sensors, and a lidar unit.
Lidar is similar to radar, but uses light instead of radio waves to detect objects. Most companies developing self-driving systems plan to use lidar in combination with other types of sensors, though Tesla has dismissed the technology, with its CEO Elon Musk claiming lidar is a waste of money. Tesla will rely on cameras, radar, and other sensors instead.
DreamDrive also features an Ethernet connection that has four nodes or gateways (one at each corner of the car) to transfer information from the sensors and instructions to the steering, brakes, and accelerator, all with redundancies built in. Crucially, Lucid says future updates to DreamDrive won’t require any new hardware.
The Air is currently available in a Grand Touring grade that starts at $139,000, has 800 hp, and promises 516 miles of range. Also available is a Dream Edition grade that starts at $169,000 and is split into Range and Performance versions. The Range version has 933 hp and 520 miles of range while the Performance version has 1,111 hp and 471 miles of range. More affordable base and Touring grades are coming next year, priced from $77,400 and $95,000, respectively.
Impressively, we could see even more power added to the Air down the road. While all current Airs feature dual-motor powertrains, Lucid has confirmed it is working on a tri-motor powertrain like the one in the Tesla Model S Plaid.