Luminar launches cost-effective lidar platform for autonomous vehicles

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Sensor and software developer Luminar has launched a new low-cost lidar platform for autonomous vehicles called Iris. After three years of stealth development, the company also unveiled details about its perception software built around the lidar sensing platform.

A recent injection of US$100m from investors, along with previously unannounced capital, has enabled Luminar to accelerate its efforts in the consumer and commercial production vehicle markets.

At present, Luminar claims to be working with 12 of the world’s top 15 automotive companies as part of their own self-driving development programs. Iris is scheduled to launch on commercial production vehicles beginning in 2022.

The Iris platform will be made available in a new, compressed unit for seamless integration into vehicles, starting at a sub-US$1,000 pricing target when bought in volume. Additionally, it features alternative configurations for enabling better and safer assisted driving (ADAS / Level 2+) functionality at a sub-US$500 pricing target for larger programs, addressing the existing US$20bn ADAS market.

“We’re at a stage where everyone in the industry is hacking together Frankenstein solutions with off-the-shelf parts for their R&D programs, but to successfully achieve series production autonomy, hardware and software have to be seamlessly developed and integrated in tandem,” said Austin Russell, Luminar’s CEO. “This combined, turnkey solution for series production vehicles is key to democratizing autonomy in the industry, enabling every auto maker to deliver on the promise of self-driving capabilities on their vehicles.”

Ben Kortlang, founding partner at G2VP, one of Luminar’s key investors, added, “We’ve been following the lidar industry closely for the last five years, watching for a technology leader to emerge that can enable Level 4 autonomy. With the release of Iris, Luminar uniquely offers a lidar solution that meets the performance, safety and cost metrics that OEMs require to commercialize autonomous vehicles. Luminar’s product is the enabling technology that will put autonomous vehicles on the road sooner than we expected.”

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Dan joined UKi Media & Events in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As deputy editor, he now produces content for the Autonomous Vehicle International website and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue.

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