Does the new Lotus 132 SUV have pop-up headlamps?

Lotus has teased another advanced feature of the upcoming fully electric large SUV, currently affixed with the Lotus Type 132 code name.

For this second teaser, Lotus zoomed in to a section of design that looks like a rectangular pop-up device, bringing back memories of Lotus Esprit’s headlamps. The idea of a headlamp also fits well with the notion of ‘see’; one of four keywords Lotus is using for the Type 132’s key attributes.

We got our imagination running too far too soon, as Lotus says that image is a Lidar scanning device, used for highly accurate ‘vision’ of the environment ahead. Lidar or Light Detection and Ranging is a key component for increased levels of intelligent self-driving capabilities.

Usually placed on the front edge of the vehicle’s roof, the Lidar scanner uses pulses of laser to accurately provide depth and position information, creating a temporary real-time 3D map that is incredibly accurate. Working together with another set of sensors, cameras and radars plus powerful image processors allows mobility closer to fully autonomous levels.

Currently, no production vehicle is equipped with a Lidar sensor, as the device is incredibly costly, bulky as well as not entirely visually appealing. This example from Lotus however looks like it is not entirely fixed to the roof, as it has large gaps and is housed in a box.

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Lotus’ distant ‘cousin’, Volvo, also has plans to equip its next-generation EV models such as the upcoming Volvo XC 90 with a Lidar device, smoothly integrating with the vehicle’s design. Earlier, Lotus showed the lower grille design of the Type 132 with active flaps for efficient aerodynamic qualities.  

The series of teaser images are part of the communication campaign that focuses on keywords including breathe, see, awaken and stretch and the technology that is easily associated with them. The Lotus Type 132 is the first of three new premium EVs from Lotus that is a major deviation from the brand, being designed, engineering and build in China. A fourth model, an EV sports car designed to be the spiritual successor to the Elise and Esprit, will continue to be made in Hethel, UK.


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