Lidar technology used for self-driving vehicles could be added to millions of human-driven cars over the next few years as lidar sensor creator Luminar begins supplying the tech to other companies.
- Luminar, which creates the sensors for lidar technology, has secured contracts to supply the autonomous tech to six auto and truck makers to make advanced driver-assist systems.
- Company CEO Austin Russell says the sensors will be supplied to Volvo, China’s SAIC, Polestar, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, and truck maker Daimler.
- In an interview with Forbes, Russell says he expects the tech to be in “millions of vehicles on the road within a few years.”
Why it’s news
The lidar technology includes the sensors that act as the eyes and ears of the vehicle. It monitors everything outside the vehicle to help avoid mishaps such as other cars, pedestrians, or crossing over lines on the road.
Fully autonomous vehicles have faced many setbacks, due to safety concerns, tech issues, and other issues such as regulatory mishaps, but the lidar sensors will help make advanced driver-assist systems for regular vehicles.
Although fully self-driving cars will likely be farther in the future than many had hoped, the lidar technology behind the vehicles is still being used and implemented into millions of cars over the next few years.
Luminar, the leading company that makes lidar sensors, has secured contracts with many large vehicle manufacturers to add the sensors to vehicles to make advanced driver-assist systems.
While the regular vehicles will not be fully autonomous, the lidar sensors will help the driver to avoid issues and have a safer driving experience.
The company is opening a new factory in Monterrey, Mexico, this year that will supply the sensors that will supply Volvo, China’s SAIC, Polestar, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, and truck maker Daimler.
The company initially was only supplying the tech for Volvo but later secured contracts for other manufacturers. The initial plan with Volvo has “ballooned dramatically over the past couple of years, where we’re now being embedded in 20 different production vehicle models or variants across the globe,” says Russell.
Luminar has been creating a slimmer version of its lidar sensors that create better images of the vehicle’s surroundings and improved “collision avoidance of small objects at up to autobahn-level speeds,” according to the company.
The company has reported revenue of around $40.7 million for all of 2022 but is expected to grow by 100% and make $1 billion on new orders in 2023, according to Luminar.