Luminar lands investment and more collaboration with Volvo on lidar platform

June 14, 2018
The recently established Volvo Cars Tech Fund announced that its first investment is in Luminar.

Volvo Cars (Gothenburg, Sweden) is increasing its cooperation with Luminar Technologies (Orlando, FL) to provide the core lidar sensing platform for the car company’s autonomous vehicles. The recently established Volvo Cars Tech Fund also announced that its first investment is in Luminar.

“Luminar Technologies represents exactly the type of company and technology we seek to invest in, providing us with strategic access to new technologies, capabilities and talent,” said Zaki Fasihuddin, CEO of the Tech Fund. “Supporting promising young firms that are at the forefront of technological development will help us introduce cutting-edge technology that strengthens our leading role in the industry.”

Of Luminar’s four major automotive OEM partners, Volvo Cars is the second to be publicly announced following Toyota Research Institute in September 2017. It follows an unveiling of its new sensor and aggressive production plans, ramping to a capacity capable of equipping every self-driving test vehicle globally by the end of 2018.

Related: Photonics entrepreneurship meets demand for autonomous vehicle lidar – Milton Chang interviews CTO and co-founder of Luminar, Jason Eichenholz

Related: Lidar startup Luminar enters autonomous vehicle market – LFW report

Related: Lasers for Lidar: Application parameters dictate laser source selection in lidar systems – feature by senior editor Gail Overton on numerous lidar technologies

More than just providing the core sensing technology, Luminar has expanded into a perception development platform. Over the past year, Luminar says it has created 3D lidar data infrastructure, labeling, and annotation tools to take full advantage of the new level of data quality produced by its sensors. Data sharing and close collaboration will be equally important for those developing their self-driving software on top of the Luminar data to quickly accelerate safe autonomy vehicle deployments. Volvo Cars is the first of Luminar’s partners to fully leverage its expanded platform.

Luminar came out of stealth mode in April 2017. To date, the company has raised $36 million in funding from Canvas Ventures, GVA Capital, and 1517 Fund, and has over 400 people across three offices, including a 125,000 sq ft manufacturing campus in Orlando.

Source: Luminar Technologies

About the Author

Conard Holton | Editor at Large

Conard Holton has 25 years of science and technology editing and writing experience. He was formerly a staff member and consultant for government agencies such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and engineering companies such as Bechtel. He joined Laser Focus World in 1997 as senior editor, becoming editor in chief of WDM Solutions, which he founded in 1999. In 2003 he joined Vision Systems Design as editor in chief, while continuing as contributing editor at Laser Focus World. Conard became editor in chief of Laser Focus World in August 2011, a role in which he served through August 2018. He then served as Editor at Large for Laser Focus World and Co-Chair of the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar from August 2018 through January 2022. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, with additional studies at the Colorado School of Mines and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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