Luminar has revealed new technologies and partnerships as well as a new roadmap at its 2023 Luminar Day.
In addition to the reveal of its new Iris+ sensor and associated software, which Mercedes-Benz is integrating into its next generation vehicle lineup, the LiDAR company unveiled its product roadmap, several new exclusive commercial agreements, the acquisition of Seagate’s LiDAR-related assets, the establishment of a Luminar Semiconductor subsidiary, and a new insurance initiative in partnership with Swiss Re to reduce insurance costs for vehicles equipped with Luminar.
The new Iris+ sensor extends Luminar’s current product portfolio for new and existing customers. It aims to further enhance vehicle safety and autonomous capabilities by enabling increased performance and collision avoidance of small objects at up to autobahn-level speeds. The sensor also features a slimmer profile, allowing it to be integrated into the roofline of many production vehicles. Luminar confirmed that Iris+ has already begun shipping to its lead customer and is currently being industrialized to support series production vehicle launches from the 2025 model year. In supporting these launches, Luminar plans to develop a new manufacturing facility in Asia with a local partner.
In January, Luminar acquired Seagate’s LiDAR program to accelerate its own LiDAR development efforts. Here, the company acquired Seagate’s lidar-related IP and assets while onboarding a technical team who will work to strengthen the development of its next-gen LiDAR, automated manufacturing processes, and cost-down initiatives.
Supporting Luminar’s plans to expand its partnership ecosystem and product portfolio will be a new highly automated, high volume, manufacturing facility in Mexico – which is expected to begin initial operations in Q2 2023. The new facility is then scheduled to enter a rigorous validation process throughout the second half of 2023 to meet the standards and requirements set by OEMs for large-scale, global vehicle launches. This new facility is being developed with Celestica, Luminar’s contract manufacturing partner and will accompany a similar facility in Thailand, which will be developed with Fabrinet – another of its contract manufacturing partners.
Also showcased was Luminar AI Engine, a machine-learning based system which aims to enable heightened accuracy and precision of detecting objects, vehicles, pedestrians, and beyond. Over the next few years Luminar expects more than a million vehicles equipped with its systems to capture 3D data that can be fed into its AI engine. Through this engine, the company will then aim to develop a comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date 3D dataset for the wider automotive industry.
A key partnership unveiled at the event was between Scale.ai and Luminar – who are partnering on the Luminar AI Engine. Here, Scale will supply its technology exclusively to Luminar while also providing data labeling and AI tools. A new partnership with Pony.ai will see Luminar support its next-generation commercial trucking and robotaxi platforms, which are targeted for series production by 2025. Pony.ai will also work with Luminar to further improve the performance and accuracy of Luminar’s AI engine. With Swiss Re, Luminar announced its own insurance program – based on an exclusive partnership to quantify quantify the on-road safety improvements of Luminar-equipped cars and the corresponding impact on insurance.
At Luminar Day, the company also announced the combination of its chip design subsidiaries (Black Forest Engineering, Optogration, and Freedom Photonics) into a new unified entity – Luminar Semiconductor. Mike McAuliffe has joined as President of Luminar Semiconductor.