Besides lowering the R1T and R1S production costs with dual-motor powertrains and preparing a new LFP battery option, the automaker plans to explore premium software and advanced driver-assistance systems.
The CFO did not expand on what that might entail, but we guess it wants to go on the Tesla route. It might bring to market a competitor for FSD Beta, BlueCruise, Super Cruise, and Drive Pilot. Currently, its advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS), Driver+, is available as standard on every R1T and R1S. Soon, it might not be.
Rivian already learned how to sell unlockable power by putting around 130 hp behind a paywall. Dual-motor R1T and R1S customers who want their EVs to have an output of 665 hp need to come up with an extra $5,000. Otherwise, their vehicle will only develop 533 hp.
Now, it seems that Rivian is moving forward with its plan to make Driver+ a real competitor for other ADAS implementations out there. It doesn't want to be the first to license Tesla's FSD V12, so it lures customers into the Driver Assistance Discount program.
R1T and R1S owners who get insurance through Rivian's partner Nationwide and use Driver+ will be rewarded when they renew. No specific metrics or requirements are shared, but the young auto brand tells buyers that the more often they engage Driver+ while on highways, "the larger the reward" they could earn when updating the policy.
However, it's worth noting that Rivian clearly specifies that discounts do not apply to all coverage elements. Moreover, it underlines that "actual savings may vary by state." Thus, don't expect a major premium discount.
All this isn't something that has just now been rolled out. The automaker has been offering this perk for quite some time. What has changed is the marque actively inviting customers to partake in the program. If you haven't received an invitation yet, one might be just around the corner.
Rivian could be doing this to gather more and more data about its ADAS. It might also want to use customers' vehicles as test units to enhance the development of Driver+, just like Tesla is doing with FSD Beta.
But unlike Tesla, Rivian has a fleet of R1T and R1S EVs that the company's employees use specifically for ADAS development. Still, the employees are no match for how far and wide adventurous R1-series EV owners can go.
Rivian's Driver+ software uses 10 cameras, four corner radars, one forward radar, and 12 ultrasonic sensors to assist the person behind the steering wheel with their driving duties.
The Driver+ suite comprises the Driving Assist feature, which acts like an adaptive cruise control system that may also steer, brake, and accelerate on highways. That's what particularly interests Rivian. It wants drivers to keep the Highway Assist feature on.
Driver+ also includes:
- lane-keeping assist.
- lane departure warning.
- blind spot detection.
- automatic adjustment of the high beams.
- rear cross-traffic warning.
- trailer assist.
- forward collision warning.
- dynamic brake support.
It is a Level 2 SAE J3016 ADAS, which means the driver is always in control and liable for everything that can happen, even when the suite is fully on. Also, unlike Super Cruise or BlueCruise, the driver must keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times, even when driving on highways.
Finally, owner feedback about the Driver+ suite and the Highway Assist in particular has not been very good. Some prefer to keep it off when cruising on high-speed roads. That could be yet another reason why Rivian is tempting people with discounts to use its ADAS extensively. OTA fixes might already be on the way.