The start-up Luminar has stated that it has established a car partnership with Mercedes-Benz.
The partnership will involve mass production of sensors, improving the carmaker’s automatic highway driving systems.
There is no timetable for when the “Iris” Luminar lid will be installed in the passenger cars or the chosen vehicle models.
As part of the agreement, Mercedes is taking a financial stake in the company. The carmaker will receive 1.5 million shares of Luminar shares. The company’s market capitalization is about $ 4.7 billion.
For Luminar, the partnership with Mercedes is another major design victory, the ninth overall and the third for conventional passenger vehicles. Just a few weeks ago, at CES, lidar unveiled a similar effort to Volvo Cars. Luminar now works with many of the world’s leading automakers, including Toyota and China’s SAIC, among others.
“It’s the top leagues when it comes to volume play,” said Luminar CEO Austin Russell. “We are really getting into this and it is quite significant in terms of the possibility of the next generation of safety systems and autonomous capabilities for their vehicles. That’s the whole point. “
The future is autonomous and green
Lidar sensors use lasers to detect objects in the traffic environment and to measure their distance from vehicles. With the exception of Elon Musk and Tesla, more and more carmakers have come to believe that lidar is an essential component of advanced driver assistance systems.
Mercedes already allows drivers to overcome systems that require human supervision. In December, the carmaker announced that it would launch its Level 3 automated “Drive Pilot” system on German roads. Drive Pilot allows hands-free driving on certain roads and does not require a person to monitor performance.
Available in early 2022 on the S-Class sedan and soon on the EQS electric vehicle, the Drive Pilot already contains lidar.
“Mercedes-Benz’s achievement of SAE 3 has already set a huge milestone for automatic driving, and I am absolutely convinced that our partnerships will increase our level of ambition for what is possible in the future,” said Markus Schäfer, a member of the board of directors of Daimler and Mercedes.
In the future, Iris leader from Luminar will improve the performance of Mercedes systems. They can observe objects at a maximum distance of 600 meters and, perhaps just as importantly, can reach 250 meters at a reflectivity of 10%, an important measure for tasks such as detecting dark objects at night.
Iris will go into mass production by the end of the year, Russell said, in parallel with Volvo’s first production schedule with Volvo.
In a sense, the deal with Mercedes-Benz is no surprise. Luminar has previously worked with Daimler and has a partnership with Daimler Trucks.