LUMINAR Is one of the major players in New crop of Ledar companies Which has spread all over the world and is moving fast to surpass its peers. Today the company Announced a new $ 100 million financing round, Totaling more than $ 250 million – in addition to the visualization platform And The new built-in Ledar module is designed to embed in actual vehicles. Busy day!
It seems that the new device, named Iris, represents about one-third the size of the test unit that Luminar has attached to cars so far. Their size was almost one size in a pair of entangled stencils, resembling a very thick iris sandwich.
The size is very important, of course, since little cars contain caves of unused space hidden in the main surfaces such as the corners and windshield area. Other Lidar makers have reduced the features of their devices in different ways; Luminar seems to have pressed in a fairly simple way, so that everything is in a smaller package in every dimension.
Iris photos put them in different positions: under the headlights of one of the cars, attached to the rear view mirror in another car, and up to the top of the cab in a semi-truck. They are small enough not to have to replace other components much, although competitors are of course aiming to make their components Even more easy to integrate. Lumenar founder and CEO Austin Russell recently told me that this would not matter if they could not get it out of the lab.
"The development phase is a huge task – actually moving it towards adopting the real world into reality
He said:Among many other things). The company that will get there first will lead the industry and of course plans to make Luminar that company.
Part of this is of course the production process, Which has been greatly improved Over the past few years. These units can be manufactured quickly enough so that they can be provided by thousands instead of dozens, and the cost has fallen dramatically – by design.
Iris costs less than $ 1000 per unit to produce vehicles that seek serious independence, and you can get a more limited version for $ 500 for limited purposes such as driver assistance or ADAS. Luminar says that Iris "will be commercially launched on production vehicles starting in 2022", but this does not necessarily mean that they are being shipped to customers right now. One representative told me that the company was negotiating contracts worth more than $ 1 billion at the moment, and 2022 would be the first to be available with Iris.
Another part of integration is software. The signal from the sensor should go somewhere. While some Lidar companies have indicated that they plan to allow the car manufacturer or deal with it in its own way, other companies have chosen to build the technology package and create a "perception" program on top of the lid. A perception program can be a collection of things: something as simple as drawing boxes around specific objects that people count, as well as the richer process that distinguishes intent, looks at trends, distinguishes the following suspicious suggestions and actions, and so forth.
Luminar chose the construction in Perception, or rather revealed it working on it for some time. Now has 60 people in the split mission between Palo Alto and Orlando, and hired a new vice president of software, a former taxi boss at DaimlerChristopher Schroeder.
What exactly would be the nature and limitations of Luminar's perception? There are risks waiting if you decide to take them away, as you at some point begin to compete with your customers, car makers who have their own perceptions and control that may interfere or not interfere with your customers. The company has provided very few details about what will be covered specifically through its platform, but no doubt that will become clearer with the product itself matures.
Last but not least, there is $ 100 million in additional funding. This brings Luminar to more than a quarter of a billion dollars in the last few years, comparable to its rival Innoviz, which has made similar decisions in terms of marketing and development.
The list of investors has remained very long, so I will quote from Luminar here only:
G2VP, Moore Strategic Ventures, LLC, Nick Woodman, The Westly Group, 1517 Fund / Peter Thiel and Canvas Ventures, as well as strategic investors Corning Inc., Cornes and Volvo Cars Tech Fund.
The painting also grew, with former Scott McGregor of Broadcom and Ben Kortland of G2VP joining the table.
We may have already surpassed the "peak of cover" as much as the number of deals and companies emerging in space, but that does not mean things will calm down. If the opposite is true, the battle of existing companies competes for profitable partnerships and begins to deal with each other to stay competitive. Luminar seems to have no plans to become a meal.