Global automotive tech company and lidar specialist Luminar Technologies hosted its annual Luminar Day event at its headquarters in Orlando, Florida, today, offering a slew of updates on its progress. This includes new lidar like its Iris+ sensor, a more clear product roadmap bolstered by a new high-volume production facility in North America, and consolidated subsidiaries into a new semiconductor business. Lots to unfold here, so let’s get started.
If you weren’t already aware, Luminar Technologies Inc. ($LAZR) is an automotive component company founded in 2012 that has established itself as one of the industry leaders in lidar and machine perception technology.
We first learned of Luminar’s Iris lidar sensor following a $100 million funding round it received in 2019 before going public via SPAC deal in the summer of 2020. At the time, Luminar’s Iris lidar was being implemented in Volvo Cars vehicles as a prime component in the automaker’s Highway Pilot self-driving feature.
Volvo has continued to expand its relationship with Luminar over the years, showcasing the latter’s lidar sensor technology in its upcoming EX90 SUV – an EV Volvo is already hailing as the safest it has ever produced. Volvo brand Polestar has also tapped Luminar for its EVs beginning with the Polestar 3 SUV.
Just last week, Mercedes-Benz announced an expansion of its existing partnership with Luminar with an investment reportedly in the “multi-billions,” which will enable it to implement Luminar’s next-generation sensor technology, Iris+, into all future Mercedes-Benz models.
During its Luminar Day event held today, the company officially unveiled the long-anticipated Iris+ lidar sensor as well as several other key updates to its business strategy.
Luminar Day filled with several key announcements
Today’s Luminar Day event was so full of news, the company delivered three separate press releases in addition to the live webcast from its Orland HQ you can view in its entirety below. There’s a lot to unfold here, but here are some of the main takeaways from today’s live event which included words from CEOs at Volvo Cars, Daimler Truck, Polestar, and Pony.ai.
First things first. As we hinted at last week, Luminar officially revealed its Iris+ lidar sensor (seen above) and stated it is already demonstrating its capabilities at its new long-range validation facility that is over 300 meters long. To that note, Luminar believes its the largest ranging facility on the planet.
Iris+ offers a slimmer profile for more seamless integration into EV rooflines compared to its predecessor and has already begun shipping to its “lead customer” (Mercedes?). Iris+ is expected to hit series production vehicle integration in 2025.
In addition to Iris+, Luminar Day also introduced a next-generation lidar sensor that will follow in coming years, using technology gained from the January acquisition of data storage solutions provider Seagate. Founder and CEO Austin Russell spoke about the company’s progress during Luminar Day:
We made a big bet early on, and today it’s more clear than ever the industry has aligned to our products and roadmap for enhancing (not replacing) drivers with next-generation safety and autonomy. As of today, Luminar is now planned into over twenty production vehicle models from automakers. At Luminar Day, both our executives and valued partners are all here to show that we’re not only leading in this new era, but also successfully executing our plans across hardware, software, industrialization, commercial partnerships, and beyond.
During Luminar Day, the company relayed is lidar technology is now planned to be implemented in over 20 production vehicles across multiple automakers, expected to garner at least triple-digit revenue growth each year for the next five years.
To support the growing number of automotive partners adapting its technology, the company shared industrialization plans with those partners to initiate its next phase in scaled production. During Luminar Day, the company announced a new dedicated, high-volume manufacturing facility coming to Mexico, expected to begin operations in Q2 of this year. To begin, the facility will perform “rigorous validation” throughout the second half of 2023 to meet automaker’s standards.
Another key announcement during Luminar Day was the establishment of a new unified entity called Luminar Semiconductor. The new in-house semiconductor business is the integration of the company’s three-chip design subsidiaries – Black Forest Engineering, Optogration, and Freedom Photonics. Per the release:
Luminar’s strategy to bring these advanced receiver, laser and processing chip technologies in-house has enabled its unmatched lidar performance while further securing and industrializing the lidar supply chain. The company is leveraging this investment in its high-performance, specialized semiconductors beyond lidar, and Luminar Semiconductor is already powering applications for customers across a broad range of sectors from communications to medical to aerospace.
Here are some other key announcements made during the event today:
- Luminar plans to use all its captured 3D data to serve its AI engine into a robust dataset.
- Scale.ai and Luminar are partnering to “supercharge” the latter’s AI engine to use HD mapping and construct a 3D model in the driveable world. Scale.ai becomes the lidar company’s exclusive provider of data labeling and AI tools.
- Luminar announced a commercial agreement with Pony.ai to utilize the former’s hardware and software in its commercial trucking and robotaxi platforms, targeted for 2025.
- Reinsurance provider Swiss Re and Luminar announce an exclusive partnership to quantify the latter’s on-road safety improvements and their impact on lowering insurance rates for drivers.
Following today’s Luminar Day event, the company said it intends to post its Q4 and full 2022 financial results including a business outlook for 2023 (as if all of today’s news wasn’t enough). You can view today’s webcast in its entirety below.
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