Plus has selected Luminar as its exclusive provider of mid- to long-range lidar for PlusDrive, Plus’s factory-installed assisted driving system for commercial vehicles. In parallel, Plus will be the exclusive third-party provider of AI-based enhanced driver assist software for Luminar’s solution for commercial vehicle OEMs.
“Trucking is a key emerging market for Luminar, and the same products and technology we’ve successfully executed on for our production consumer vehicle programs are beginning to be deployed on commercial vehicles as well,” said Luminar founder and CEO Austin Russell. “We see Plus as a new strategic partner for us to enable enhanced safety and autonomous capabilities for production commercial vehicles at even greater scale, in light of their commercial success with some of the largest companies in the industry.”
Luminar’s Iris lidar is a first-of-its kind, automotive-grade sensing solution that enables high-performance, long-range detections, according to the company. In addition to production consumer vehicles, Iris also meets the stringent performance, robustness, and reliability requirements for class 8 commercial trucks. Ultra long-range visibility is critical for trucking for both safety and comfort, and Luminar says its lidar is capable of seeing as far as 600m ahead. This represents as much as 20 seconds of visibility ahead at highway speeds to ensure even fully loaded trucks can smoothly come to a safe stop when required. The company states this provides a step-function improvement for ADAS systems while enabling the necessary foundation for fully autonomous driving.
“The partnership between Luminar and Plus unlocks the tremendous business value of next-generation safety and highly automated driving systems for vehicle manufacturers and fleets alike. Luminar will enable PlusDrive to achieve new heights in sensing at further distances and at highway speeds. This will enable the scalable commercialization of driver-in technology today and accelerate our customers’ path to full autonomy tomorrow,” said David Liu, CEO and co-founder at Plus.
Plus’s driver-in, L2++ solution PlusDrive, which enables supervised autonomy, is already commercially available and used to deliver freight by some of the largest fleets in the world today. PlusDrive uses components such as lidar, radar and cameras from award-winning manufacturers to see 360° around the vehicle and hundreds of meters ahead. The AI-based software processes the data, predicts the behavior of surrounding vehicles, and then safely maneuvers the vehicle. It automatically handles stop-and-go traffic, lane changes, lane merges, nudging when next to an oversized vehicle, and staying centered in the lane while the driver remains alert and attentive. New driving features are continuously added via over-the-air software updates.
Plus and Luminar will also aim to collaborate on Luminar’s commercial vehicle insurance program, high definition mapping, and trucking sensor integration called Blade.
Read an exclusive interview with Dr Georg Kuschk, director of perception, Plus, on the self-driving truck company’s deployment strategy, here.