We learned a few more details of Lucid’s autonomous system at their event this weekend in LA, one of which is its apparent name: “Copilot.” This may well just be a placeholder name for development purposes and could change before production, but the instrument cluster demo showed the name clearly as you can see in the picture above. Given Tesla’s similar “autopilot” name – which has gotten them in some trouble with the authorities in Germany and California – “copilot” is definitely an interesting choice, and perhaps one less likely to result in legal questions.
As for some other details of the system, it was already confirmed that Lucid would use MobilEye for their front-facing camera and image processing system. But the car will also incorporate many other sensors, which you can see below the break.
While Lucid is currently doing some autonomous drive testing on their own (though they do not currently have a permit through California’s Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program), their vehicles will not be fully autonomous when first released, as they’ll have to collect more data before they have enough to enable the system. Lucid thinks it will take another six months after launch before they are able to enable full autonomous driving. Considering, however, that they will likely have fewer than 5,000 cars on the road at that point – based on their estimate of 10,000 cars delivered in the first year – it seems very optimistic that they will have collected enough miles of data to enable a truly autonomous driving system in so little time.
For comparison, Teslas are not currently fully autonomous, and as of three months ago they had accumulated 1.3 billion miles of data – certainly orders of magnitude more than Lucid will have in the first six months after delivery. But Lucid’s system does seem to gather at least as much data as Tesla’s, and probably even more given the greater diversity of sensors, so they might be able to achieve a bit of catch-up with higher quality data.
Here you can see that Lucid’s sensor suite consists of much more than MobilEye’s camera and image processing unit. The three front cameras are supplied by MobilEye, as is the computer which interprets their data. But Lucid will have to write their own software to interpret and integrate MobilEye’s input along with the input of the six Radar and four LiDAR sensors on the car.
The autonomous sensors aren’t in their final packaging yet, and the cars on display only had the front-facing LiDAR system installed, so we were unable to get pictures of any of the other sensors. You can see what the unit looks like in the shots of the rolling “camo” chassis above. The unit, which is supplied by Valeo, is “solid-state” – rather than the large spinning LiDAR system mounted atop some other autonomous prototypes (e.g. Google, Ford), any moving parts are self-contained within the unit.
The “show car” didn’t have active sensor units installed, but did show a mockup of what the units might eventually look like. The closeup photos above show the front and rear bumpers – where LiDAR and radar units are expected to be installed.
What do you think of Lucid’s autonomous drive ambitions? Will they be able to deliver on their promises?
We still have more insights to come from the event, so stay tuned for over the next couple days.
correction: this article previously stated that the LiDAR unit was supplied by Velodyne, it is actually supplied by Valeo.