Lucid Air’s New DreamDrive Assistance System Is Here to Take on Tesla’s Autopilot

·3 min read

Power and range aren’t the only areas where Lucid is looking to go toe to toe with Tesla.

The newest EV maker on the block unveiled its driver-assistance platform, DreamDrive, on Tuesday. Set to launch alongside the brand’s first EV, the Air, the system may not be a match for Autopilot just yet, but it boats plenty of intriguing features nonetheless.

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At the heart of DreamDrive is a network of up to 32 sensors—including 14 visible-light cameras, five radars and four surround-view cameras—integrated into the body of the Air. These sensors cover nearly every inch of the EV and promise to help you avoid potential collisions and other hazards on the road, even those the naked eye would normally miss. There’s also a multi-faceted driver-monitoring system that includes a driver-trained infrared camera to help ensure you stay focused on the road, with your eyes looking forward and your hands on the wheel, according to the automaker. If your attention wanders, the system will give you a nudge via its in-cabin 21-speaker sound system, and if you’re slow to react it will even begin to slow the car down to a complete stop in case you’re incapacitated. If you are, the car Air’s emergency brake will be triggered once it comes to a stop, hazard lights will engage and doors will unlock to provide emergency personnel with access to the vehicle.

DreamDrive’s 32-sensor network at work
DreamDrive’s 32-sensor network at work

Three other driver-assistance features complete the system. They include Highway Assist, which combines adaptive cruise control and lane centering to make sure the Air is right where it belongs when you’re on the freeway. There’s also Traffic Assist, which operates between the speeds of 0 and 40 mph, to help you navigate particularly crowded roads without incident. And Auto Park, as it name suggests, will park the Air for you. It can parallel park and will even turn the front wheels in the correct direction when parking on a hill.

Those features all come standard with DreamDrive, but the premium DreamDrive Pro system—which comes standard on the Air Dream Edition and Air Grand Touring but is available as an add-on on other models—is even more robust. It boasts a solid-state LiDAR sensor, a first for a North American vehicle, that expands the scope of its 32-sensor network even further on the road. Unlike Tesla’s Autopilot, the system doesn’t offer any autonomous capabilities yet, but hands-free driving will eventually be available on select roads throughout the country via the Pro’s version of Highway Assist. Additional features will come to the top-tier system in the future via over-the-air updates.

Inside the Lucid Air
Inside the Lucid Air

Whether DreamDrive lives up to the brand’s promises is an open question, but it’s another intriguing feature for the Air—in case its 1,080 hp powertrain, record-setting 520-mile EPA-rated range and three years of free charging weren’t enough for you. And you’ll soon get the chance to try the system for yourself. Late last month, Lucid confirmed that its debut EV had gone into production.

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