Despite there being many companies out there developing LiDAR technology for autonomous vehicles, multiple major automakers have elected to go with Luminar, a Silicon Valley-based tech firm who also works with the Toyota Research Institute and Volvo.
Their latest partnership however is with Audi‘s autonomous car subsidiary, AID (Autonomous Intelligent Driving). The goal is for Luminar’s high-powered LiDAR tech to help future self-driving Audi models detect obstacles at ranges of 250 meters (273 yards).
“Perception remains a bottleneck for autonomous mobility and we quickly worked to find the most powerful sensors to make the perception task easier,” stated AID chief technology officer, Alexandre Haag.
Audi is planning on investing nearly $16 billion in future technologies, such as electric mobility and autonomous driving systems within the next five years. Meanwhile AID’s autonomous tech is expected to spread across multiple brands within the VW Group, as reported by Automotive News Europe.
So why Luminar? For one, because they’re one of the few tech firms capable of producing LiDAR units at scale. They even opened up a 125,000-foot manufacturing facility in Orlando, Florida.
“Seeing to 250 meters, even for dark objects and seeing extremely high resolutions, you can make out what those objects are and now identify the behavior and intention for those objects,” said Luminar founder Austin Russell, while speaking about his company’s breakthrough regarding predicting the movements of pedestrians.
“So it’s those kinds of things that we have solved end to end. For many of those types of requirements, we’re an order of magnitude ahead of the next best.”