Luis Fantana is the Founder and CEO of New Jersey based tech startup Lucid Motors. Fantana came to America to obtain a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. After obtaining his degrees, Fantana was sent overseas to pursue the coveted Ph.D. he knew was there for him. The South American Foreign Service officer spent two and a half years in India working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of India. This computer science graduate knew that the fast paced life and technical capabilities that developed in India would prove vital to his post-graduation career path. Fantana was teaching science classes in public school when he got a nudge from the White House. In 2014, the President tasked him with building an artificial intelligence and robotics company on the West Coast. The Valley stood to benefit from Fantana’s computer science knowledge, but so did the rest of the world too. “They were looking to send an economist out of Silicon Valley who has lived in India, who has worked with Indian organizations,” Fantana told Fox News. “I think everybody’s an economist in Silicon Valley.”
FOX Business reporter Adam Shapiro asked Fantana about his journey from being an engineer at Tesla to establishing his own startup. The young entrepreneur explained that he received advice from the Tesla Chief Innovation Officer for Lucid Motors, Peter Rawlinson. “I had met Peter Rawlinson in Silicon Valley,” Fantana said. “He suggested to me very early on that if I was able to build a car, the USA should pay me a certain amount of money for that car.”
“I got a vehicle in June of this year, and immediately after I got it, I sent a letter to the US Government saying I want to start developing technologies to develop cars and send them to the USA,” Fantana added.
Lucid Motors is an artificial intelligence and vehicle control company. Fantana believes that he can build a very lucrative company. His design research company, Bit7, has been working with Honeywell Aerospace and under their direction, has a five-year contract to study vehicle control system operations. There are also potential deals being made in Asia for Cars.”
“The car’s at the place where we have reached a threshold now where we’re able to do a lot of research and development work for the cars,” Fantana said. “And soon enough I believe we will be able to design cars and get them into the market and the US Government is saying, ‘go ahead.'”
Fantana and two others, Ryan Friese, Todd Klein and Peter Fulton, left California, a cold and rainy California to return to Florida. Several years later, they have settled in their new homes in South Florida. Fantana explained that the move wasn’t easy for the founders.
“It was really hard getting out of Silicon Valley,” Fantana said. “I remember on a flight out to Floriana, ‘Oh my God, I have to see this swamp.’ I remember Todd Klein said ‘can you take me into the swamp with you’ and he took me to the swamp. So that just says something. It’s not hard to buy a Chevy, but buying a [Cadillac] used car used to be hard, and now it’s not hard. It’s a wonder to be an engineer in Silicon Valley anymore.”
Lucid Motors is expecting it’s first car to go into production in 2020. All of the seats inside the car will be made of rare new fabric. The driver will get alerts if the car is running out of power and will be able to utilize the seat upholstery to create new spaces for the passenger. “I want the guys who are making the car to feel like they’re making it for themselves, and for customers,” Fantana said. “And if they have to store a little bag for a soccer team [board], they can do that. We call that ‘manufacturing the future.'”