Several months ago, Mobileye announced that the first customer for its upcoming consumer automated driving system would be Polestar, the performance electric vehicle spin-off from Volvo Cars. At the time, Mobileye revealed that in 2025, the Polestar 4 would be offered with the first iteration of its Chauffeur system, but no mention was made of who would be supplying the lidar sensors used in the system. At an investor and media event in Los Angeles today, Polestar announced that the system would use Luminar’s next-generation Iris lidar.
This will be the second Polestar model equipped with Luminar’s sensors. Sometime in 2024, the Polestar 3 will also be available with the current version of the Iris sensor. The 3 is based on Volvo’s new SPA2 architecture which is also used for the upcoming Volvo EX90. The 3 and EX90 use an advanced driver assist system (ADAS) developed in-house by Volvo’s Zensact unit and Luminar.
That system is expected to launch with hands-off/eyes-on highway driving capability similar to systems like GM’s Super Cruise. Over time, Volvo and Polestar plan to upgrade the software with the goal of eventually getting hands-off/eyes-off/brain-off automated driving functionality.
The Polestar 4 is based on the Geely SEA architecture which is already used by several other vehicles within the Geely Group, the Chinese company that owns the majority of Polestar, as well as Volvo, Zeekr and Lynk&Co. The Zeekr 001 was he first vehicle on this platform and the first to use Mobileye’s Supervision system in production beginning in 2022. Supervision will also be available on the 4 from the start of production which is expected before the end of 2023.
Supervision is also a hands-off/eyes-on system however it was spawned from Mobileye’s development of fully automated systems. It is the camera-only subsystem of the Mobileye Drive platform that the Israeli company has been developing for robotaxis and other applications. It uses 11 cameras around the car including 8, 8 MP cameras. This author had a chance to sample the system on a Zeekr while attending IAA Mobility in Munich, Germany in September of this year and it worked very well.
The latest software update allows it to work on virtually all roads and navigate from point to point, a capability that Super Cruise and other systems don’t yet have. Only Tesla’s Navigate on Autopilot offers similar functionality, but the Mobileye Road Experience Management (REM) map platform that Supervision uses, significantly enhances the reliability of the Mobileye system.
For the step up to Chauffeur, Mobileye will be using multiple radar sensors and one forward looking lidar sensor in addition to the cameras. This will allow unsupervised highway driving capability. Mobileye and its majority owner Intel have been developing their own lidar sensors as well as high-resolution imaging radar for several years with the lidar targeted for introduction in 2025. When the Polestar 4 announcement was made in August 2023, it was unknown if the system would use Mobileye’s lidar or another vendor such as Luminar.
Mobileye does currently also use Luminar Iris lidar on its robotaxi development platform although those vehicles use 3 of the sensors. The Polestar 4 system will use one of Mobileye’s imaging radar sensors on the front along with lower resolution short-range radars at the corners of the car. Since Supervision is a subset of Chauffeur, it’s capabilities including eyes-on driving on city streets will also be included on the 4 for a seamless transition between fully manual driving and highly automated highway driving.
This layered system of multiple sensor types enables what Mobileye calls True Redundancy. This sort of redundant and diverse system is essential to safe automated driving. The different capabilities of the sensors provide overlap and also an expanded perception capability for fail-operational control. In traditional ADAS, developers rely on failsafe philosophy which means that a fault needs to be detected and the driver alerted. Once the driver has been warned they must take over full driving control and the human is the redundant system.
For automated driving where the human is not required to supervise, the system must be able to continue operating until the vehicle can come to a stop in a safe place. Another layer of the redundancy is the Chauffeur compute platform which uses 3 of Mobileye’s latest generation EyeQ 6HI processors.
At the same event, Polestar also announced that it will be adding a second production location for the 4. Initial production will take place at Geely’s Hangzhou Bay factory in China. However, the tariffs on Chinese made vehicles will make it challenging to sell at a competitive price in the U.S. market. So Polestar and Geely have made a deal with Renault Korea Motors (RKM) to add production of the 4 at RKM’s factory in Busan, South Korea. Geely is also a minority shareholder in RKM. Polestar 4 models built by RKM will be sold in the Korean domestic market and exported to North America. Production at RKM is expected to begin in the second half of 2025.