Geo Week News

May 7, 2024

Luminar Announces Next-Generation Lidar Sensor

Luminar’s next-generation lidar sensor, Luminar Halo, is designed to focus more on rapidly scaling the company’s vision to mainstream consumer vehicles.
Luminar Halo, a lidar sensor designed for mass adoption by mainstream consumer vehicles | Image via Luminar

The yearly investor day of Luminar Technologies, held earlier this month, featured multiple announcements. From a product design perspective, the most interesting announcement was Luminar’s next-generation lidar sensor, Luminar Halo. Whereas Luminar’s Iris sensor was designed “to kick off a new global industry for safety and autonomy on premium vehicles”, the new sensor was designed for mass adoption by mainstream consumer vehicles. The new sensor is expected to enable a 4x improvement in performance, a 3x reduction in size, a 2x improvement in thermal efficiency, and more than 2x improvement in cost.

Design-wise, it is expected to be under 1 inch in height, under 1 kilogram in weight, and use approximately 10 watts of power consumption. This means it will seamlessly blend into the roofline of a car or behind the windshield. Finally, Luminar Halo is expected to provide backward system compatibility to existing customers of its current generation sensor family, Iris. At this moment, there is no scheduled release date or more information available on which car maker(s) will integrate the sensor.

Luminar Founder and CEO Austin Russell | Image via Luminar

Luminar starts with delivering production lidar sensors for the Volvo EX90

It is Luminar’s ambition to standardize and mass-market lidar technology in the automotive industry. This month, the company announced it has achieved the start of production for Volvo Cars and begun delivering production lidar sensors for the Volvo EX90, which will be the first global production vehicle to feature and standardize this technology. As explained in this article, the production of the Volvo EX90 was pushed back last year to 2024, although this is unrelated to Luminar’s sensors. 

Forbes provided more background on where Luminar’s sensors have been available and where until now. This article states that Luminar began supplying the Iris sensor to SAIC, a Chinese state-owned automobile manufacturer, for its R7 EV in 2022, but it’s not clear how many of those are equipped with lidar and how many were sold. It also states the Volvo EX90 cars will be equipped with the Iris sensor. Additionally, Mercedes Benz will use “an updated version” of Luminar’s Iris sensor in its next generation of electric vehicles based on its MMA platform. The Polestar 2 and other upcoming Volvo models are expected to use lidar as well.

Image via Luminar

Testing and validating assisted driving and automated driving perception systems

The third announcement includes a partnership with Applied Intuition, a Silicon Valley-based vehicle software developer. In the initial phase of the partnership, the two companies plan to offer a joint hardware and software solution for automakers to test and validate assisted driving and automated driving perception systems using Applied Intuition’s physics-based sensor simulator, Sensor Sim, with integrated sensor models of Luminar’s lidar. Automakers will be able to accurately test and validate Luminar’s lidar-based software systems in virtual environments while reducing testing costs and accelerating time to market.

In a blog post on Luminar’s website, additional info is provided about the new partnership. Instead of driving millions of real-world miles to demonstrate the safety of fully autonomous systems, automakers can save significant amounts of money annually by shifting 90% of real-world perception development and testing into simulation. In addition to Sensor Sim, Luminar uses Applied Intuition’s Object Sim, a prediction, planning, and controls simulator, to validate its sensor models to ensure their high realism and accuracy. The blog post concludes with the message that validated sensor models of the Luminar Iris and Iris+ lidars will soon be available in Applied Intuition Sensor Sim, with plans to expand the solution to Luminar Halo lidar soon.

A video of Luminar’s investor event, Luminar Day, is available here.

Want more stories like this? Subscribe today!

Read Next

Related Articles


Join the Discussion