Beginning in the middle of the decade, Luminar will supply Mercedes-Benz with lidar sensors and software for a “wide range” of vehicles. The company’s lidars use laser light pulses to measure the distance between a sensor and an object and are widely regarded as critical to achieving full autonomous driving.
Mercedes-Benz will incorporate the next version of Luminar’s Iris lidar into an upcoming partially automated driving system under the terms of the expanded agreement.
The new autonomous system will enable expanded hands-free operation on highways up to 130 kilometers per hour (81 miles per hour), as well as improved driver-assist features in urban environments.
The expected production volumes were not disclosed but Luminar did describe it as a “multibillion dollar” expansion of the previous deal they had in place. To fulfil the massive order, Luminar plans to build a new factory in Asia.
“We are now set to enable the broadest scale deployment of this technology in the industry,” Luminar CEO Austin Russell said. “Mercedes’ standards for vehicle safety and performance are among the highest in the industry, and their decision to double down on Luminar reinforces that commitment.”
“In a first step, we have introduced a Level 3 system in our top-line models,” said Markus Schäfer, Mercedes-Benz’s chief technology officer, referring to last year’s deal with Luminar. “Next, we want to implement advanced automated driving features in a broader scale within our portfolio.”