Volvo to invest in lidar company for its self-driving car tech

June 14, 2018

A California company that produces lidar, the technology at the forefront of self-driving car development, said Thursday that Volvo will make a "significant" investment in its operations.

Speaking with Automotive News, Volvo research and design chief Henrik Green didn't reveal details of the size and scope of the automaker's investment in Palo Alto-based Luminar.

MORE: The 5 levels of self-driving cars

Wired reported that Volvo's deal with Luminar isn't exclusive, but it does give the Swedish automaker access to begin testing its fleet of self-driving cars in California with some of the most advanced technology available.

“Their lidar outperformed the ones that we’d been testing in our labs,” Zaki Fasihuddin, CEO of Volvo Cars’ Tech Fund, told Wired

The California company makes a lidar system that pairs a laser and a receiver in a compact unit at a factory in Orlando, Florida. Luminar says its system is simpler, more effective, and less costly than versions made by its rivals. Luminar CEO Austin Russell told Automotive News that Luminar's design can see 820 feet ahead, which translates to about 7.5 seconds of highway-speed driving.

Luminar also makes its own software to create a 3D map of the road and its environs that communicates with the lidar system.

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