LiDAR startup Luminar eyes consumer market

July 18, 2019
Written by Folake Dosu

transportation-tech-lidar-luminar

LiDAR startup Luminar will be entering consumer automotive and commercial trucking markets with a venture-backed platform called Iris. The company announced its plans in a press release last week, finally revealing details about its sensing and perception platform after three years of stealth development.

Luminar recently netted $100 million from investors. This investment, plus previously unannounced capital, puts Luminar’s total capital raised to more than $250 million. 

The company's investors to-date include G2VP, two of the most prominent sovereign wealth funds, Moore Strategic Ventures LLC, Nick Woodman, The Westly Group, 1517 Fund / Peter Thiel and Canvas Ventures. 

Luminar’s board adds former longtime Broadcom President & CEO Scott McGregor as well as G2VP’s Founding Partner Ben Kortlang.

“This combined, turnkey solution for series production vehicles is key to democratizing autonomy in the industry, enabling every automaker to deliver on the promise of self-driving capabilities on their vehicles.”

12 of the world’s top 15 automotive companies are using Luminar’s sensing platform as part of global self-driving development programs. Iris plans to launch commercially on production vehicles beginning in 2022. As a sensing platform, Iris has the advantage of being the first of its kind to deliver Level 3 and 4 autonomy to consumers.

“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 chief executive officer. “This combined, turnkey solution for series production vehicles is key to democratizing autonomy in the industry, enabling every automaker to deliver on the promise of self-driving capabilities on their vehicles.”

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