Since Tesla announced back in October 2016 that all its cars from now on will be equipped with all the necessary hardware to enable self-driving capability through an over-the-air update, other automakers unveiling new cars had to step up their game since the new autonomous technology is expected to be critical to the industry going forward.
When Lucid Motors unveiled its first vehicle last month, the company announced that it would feature autonomous technology, but now it clarified that it will follow Tesla’s lead and equip all cars with the necessary hardware to enable self-driving capability and gradually release more advanced driver assist features leading to full autonomy.
The electric car startup confirmed that Mobileye, Tesla former partner for the Autopilot program, will power its autonomous system.
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The company wrote in a press release:
Lucid will launch its first car, the Lucid Air, with a complete sensor set for autonomous driving from day one, including camera, radar and lidar sensors. Mobileye was chosen to provide the primary compute platform, full 8-camera surround view processing, sensor fusion software, Road Experience Management (REM™) crowd-based localization capability, and reinforcement learning algorithms for Driving Policy. These technologies will enable a full Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) suite at launch, and then enable a logical and safe transition to autonomous driving functionality through over-the-air software updates.
Mobileye will supply 2 EyeQ4 chips per vehicle to power the primary vision-based system, like Tesla’s new Autopilot, with 8 cameras. Tesla was using Mobileye’s EyeQ3 chip and some software for the first generation Autopilot, but the automaker brought most of Mobileye’s part in the Autopilot in-house in a breakup that quickly turned ugly.
Some will say that Lucid is clearly walking in Tesla’s steps with this new deal. The company founded by a Tesla executive unveiled an all-electric sedan developed by Peter Rawlinson, CTO of Lucid and former Tesla Model S chief engineer, and now the company is using the similar autonomous technology used in the last generation Model S.
Rawlinson commented on the announcement:
“Mobileye’s suite of automated driving technologies represent key elements in the development of automated driving systems in the Lucid Air. Lucid is striving to take a leading position in safety and intuitive usability. We look forward to working with Mobileye on important aspects of achieving these goals.”
Mobileye will also supply Lucid with its REM system, which is intended to provide the vehicle with highly accurate localization capability. While Tesla has profited from driving and map data of its 100,000+ fleet of Autopilot vehicles, a startup will find it difficult to try to emulate that in the short-term, but Mobileye offers a service to share the data between its programs called “dynamic global Roadbook” for high-definition mapping systems.
It will be useful for companies like Lucid starting out without a fleet to collect data.
Lucid plans to bring to market its Lucid Air in 2018. According to its deal with Mobileye, it will feature advanced autonomous features at launch, but it’s not clear when its software for fully autonomous driving would be available. In other vehicle programs with other automakers, Mobileye has targets closer to 2020.