Luminar Full-Stack Self-Driving Software Available to Automakers

First shipments of the software are already underway and more planned to be shipped to car manufacturers in the next few months

Graham Hope

July 8, 2024

3 Min Read
Sentinel

The first shipments occurred last week and are planned to be delivered to car manufacturers for evaluation in the next three months, although Luminar is keen to stress that the tech remains “in development” and does not yet constitute a production release version.

Florida company Luminar has announced the launch of a new full-stack software suite for automakers looking to advance their autonomous driving capabilities.

The Orlando firm, probably best known as a supplier of lidar, said its Sentinel solution is the result of five years of software and AI development.

The first shipments occurred last week and are planned to be delivered to car manufacturers for evaluation in the next three months, although Luminar is keen to stress that the tech remains “in development” and does not yet constitute a production release version.

It is not yet clear which automakers will be evaluating the solution.

Sentinel is said to offer a wide range of functionality, including proactive safety, perception, 3D mapping and localization, simulation, plus dynamic lidar features.

It was first previewed by Luminar as a prototype in 2021 when the company was working with Zenseact, then a Volvo self-driving subsidiary, but now owned by the Swedish automaker. 

According to Luminar, the prototype version had a “fraction of its current capabilities,” and there was no mention of Zenseact in the press materials released to announce Sentinel’s launch.

Related:Luminar, Plus Team to Develop Self-Driving Truck Tech

However, Luminar did reveal it had been working with three California-based software partners Scale AI, Applied Intuition and Civil Maps, and that its package is very much geared toward providing a “toolkit of capabilities” to automakers that can be integrated with their own software development efforts. 

It also stressed that Sentinel is designed for consumer production vehicles and not self-driving taxis. 

Austin Russell, founder and CEO of Luminar, has high hopes for the new solution, which is compatible with almost any consumer and commercial vehicle, including both combustion engine and electric models.

He said: “People know Luminar for pioneering lidar systems for global production vehicles, but since 2017 we have also been building next-generation AI-based software for improved safety and autonomy.

“The majority of major automakers don’t currently have a software solution for next-generation assisted and autonomous driving systems. Our launch couldn’t be more timely with the new NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] mandate for next-generation safety in all US production vehicles by 2029 and as of today, we’re the only solution we know of that meets all of these requirements. 

Related:Self-Driving Vehicle Software Company Closes $250M Funding Round

“This gives us the opportunity to dramatically expand our content value per vehicle in a high-margin capacity.”

Additionally, a recent study by reinsurance company Swiss Re suggested that cars equipped with Luminar’s Lidar and a development version of the Sentinel software could be significantly safer, bolstering the company’s belief it can monetize the tech’s benefits via insurance products.

About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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