Polestar Introduces us to the Cladrus
Here is a concept vehicle that may or may not ever come to fruition, but the thought of it is incredibly appealing. Brought to you by Polestar, the Cladrus is a beautiful automobile with the promise of Level 5 autonomous driving. Polestar calls this a Solar Hybrid Autonomous Electric Vehicle of the not-so-distant future.
If this vehicle looks somewhat familiar, it is because it has borrowed the framework from the first production-ready solar car, the Lightyear 0, which I wrote about here:
Starting with the name alone, based on the mythical animal the Caladrius, the Polestar Cladrus focuses on sustainability and the “healing” of the Earth. This involves using recycled materials for manufacturing vehicles and using renewable energy to run them. The Cladrus does just that with transparent solar panels directly feeding the potential graphene-based battery. Potentially, the gain in efficiencies achieved by using graphene instead of li-on batteries will make the solar panels much more effective. Given this is a hybrid vehicle, we can expect some other form of power as a backup. (Again, this is all conceptual)
So what is level 5 autonomous driving? It was best summed up by TORC.AI as
Level 5: Fully Automated Driving
Vehicles capable of Level 5 Autonomy will be able to drive on any road that has been mapped and can be navigated by a human driver. It is sufficient for the user to specify a destination, and the vehicle will subsequently transport any occupants to their location. The system must be capable of managing all scenarios on its own and executing the entire dynamic driving task. It is essential to note; that this level of autonomy is currently not technologically possible.
Polestar has recently signed an agreement with Waymo, the autonomous driving technology expert and a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet. Waymo is the mastermind behind these vehicles traversing our roads:
Even though Level 5 driving isn’t currently available doesn’t mean some derivation of it isn’t too far off. In any case, the Cladrus is genuinely just a concept at this point, and it will be quite some time before we ride in a car with no way to drive it.
How about the inside of the Cladrus? Pictures show it as more of a lounge, with no steering wheel. Notice the side table!
This particular automobile will seat four comfortably and possibly add a fifth passenger. Even more exciting is the option of reclining the seats for a restful sleep.
Notice the vehicle's rear entrance as the hatch/roof opens, and the passengers walk right in.
Polestar’s goal was to design a premium automobile that could be used for car-hailing. The Ubers and Lyfts of the world could have a lounge or hotel on wheels. Imagine the possibilities of an off-the-grid vehicle mainly relying on the sun for power and offering a mobile hotel's utmost luxury and restfulness. It will be interesting to see how this emerging technology develops in the years ahead!