Lucid Air EV gets the same Dolby Atmos surround-sound tech used in movie theaters

Lucid's new fully electric sedan will be the world's first vehicle to integrate Dolby Atmos surround sound, not only enhancing media playback, but driver assistance systems as well.

Lucid Motors

The upcoming Lucid Air EV luxury car will be the world's first vehicle to treat passengers to Dolby Atmos sound -- the same audio technology found in movie theaters and recording studios. But this surround-sound system isn't just for tunes. According to an announcement Wednesday, Lucid says this technology will also improve the vehicle's safety, thanks to directional audio for notifications, warnings and alerts.

Lucid's Surreal Sound system scatters 21 speakers around the Air's cabin, providing front, rear, side and vertically elevated "height" channels that work together to create the illusion of sound moving around the drivers and passengers. Lucid worked with Dolby to tune the Air's system to attempt to mimic the auditory presence of Capitol Records' Studio C recording space. Passengers can expect precise, directional sound from music, whether listening to surround-encoded Dolby Atmos Music audio tracks or traditional stereo recordings.


The Air's Surreal Sound won't just be used to make your tunes sound better, however. This tech works with the Air's safety systems, and all of the vehicle's notification beeps and warning dings make use of directional audio to focus the driver's attention where it's needed. An unbuckled seat belt warning sound will seem to come from the direction of the offending seat. Turn signal clicks come from the indicated side of the vehicle. Lucid says that all driver and passenger alerts will feature directional acoustic signaling, so presumably, we'll hear similar directionality from driver aid features like park-distance sensors or blind-spot alerts.

Having listened to Atmos at home and in the theater, I'll find it interesting to see how well Lucid and Dolby have translated the experience to a mobile platform, and how well a technology designed for music and movies works when applied to passenger safety. The Lucid Air EV can be reserved now with the first deliveries expected to begin in the second half of 2021.

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