October 20, 2022
Polestar has officially revealed its new electric SUV – and confirmed details of the cutting-edge tech that will facilitate autonomous driving.
The Swedish automaker, owned by Geely and a sister company to Volvo, has produced an undeniably stylish car in the Polestar 3. The performance SUV is essentially an upmarket alternative to the Tesla Model X, and a rival to the Audi e-tron and Porsche Cayenne, with up to 517 horsepower and a potential range of 379 miles.
An abundance of hi-tech features is central to its appeal.
For a start, the Polestar 3 is the first car from the brand to use Nvidia Drive computing power, running software from Volvo. This serves as the brain of the vehicle, processing data from the car’s sensors and cameras to enable advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) safety features and driver monitoring.
The car’s sensing equipment is extensive. Five radar modules, five external cameras and 12 external ultrasonic sensors are standard on all Polestar 3s, with several of the forward-facing ones, a heated radar module and a camera gathered in what has been called “The Smart Zone.” This is an area housed under the front wing that will become a design signature for the brand.
The SUV delivers a wide spread of ADAS features such as adaptive cruise control; vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian detection; forward collision warning; blind spot monitoring; lane keeping assistance with steering support; road sign recognition; cross traffic alerts with braking support; and parking assistance.
But there is still more to come, as an optional Pilot Pack will be available to order in the second quarter of next year. This adds lidar from U.S. company Luminar, another control unit from Nvidia, three cameras, four ultrasonic sensors and cleaning for the front and rear-view cameras.
The Pilot Pack tech will enable enhanced real-time 3D scanning of the car’s surroundings and is geared toward delivering more advanced automated functionality and autonomous driving. Although Polestar has yet to communicate exactly what capability this will make possible and what specific features will be available, Level 3, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers, is a probable target.
There is also plenty of advanced tech inside the car. Two closed-loop driver monitoring cameras bring eye tracking technology from Swedish company Smart Eye to a Polestar for the first time. These monitor the driver’s eyes and can trigger warning messages, sounds and even an emergency stop function if they detect the driver is sleepy or disengaged.
This is complemented by a recent Volvo innovation – radar sensors that can detect the most minuscule, sub-millimeter movements inside the cabin and help protect against accidentally leaving children or pets there. This system is also linked to the climate control to prevent heat stroke or hypothermia.
The infotainment system, meanwhile, is powered by Qualcomm’s next-generation Snapdragon Cockpit Platform, while the in-car operating system is Android Automotive OS and an evolution of the technology first launched in Polestar 2, which was the first car in the world with Google built-in. Over-the-air (OTA) updates will introduce new features.
Production will initially commence at Volvo’s plant in Chengdu, China, next year, but from mid-2024 North American models will be supplied from Volvo’s factory in Ridgeville, South Carolina. Starting price in the U.S. will be around $85,000.
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