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Luminar, Plus Team to Develop Self-Driving Truck Tech

Luminar will provide mid to long-range lidar sensors for PlusDrive, the factory-installed driving system for trucks

Graham Hope

June 15, 2023

2 Min Read
Luminar

Luminar and Plus are teaming up to develop tech for self-driving trucks.

The pair say they will collaborate on “highly automated driving and fully autonomous driving systems” for commercial vehicle (CV) manufacturers.

Under the terms of the deal, Orlando-based Luminar will provide mid to long-range lidar sensors for PlusDrive, the factory-installed driving system for trucks.

In addition, Plus – headquartered in Cupertino, California – will provide Luminar with AI-based enhanced driver assist software.

Luminar has established itself as one of the leading lidar suppliers in the industry, announcing extended deals with the likes of Polestar and Mercedes for consumer vehicles in recent months.

Now it is identifying opportunities with CV partners, thanks to the high performance of its Iris Lidar, which according to the company delivers the long-range visibility, robustness and reliability required by trucks.

Its ability to identify potential hazards or obstacles as far as 1,968 feet ahead represents nearly 20 seconds of visibility for a fully laden Class 8 truck at highway speeds, giving it plenty of time to safely come to a halt, laying what Luminar believes is “the necessary foundation for fully autonomous driving.”

“Trucking is a key emerging market for Luminar, and the same products and technology we’ve successfully executed on for our production consumer vehicle programs are beginning to be deployed on commercial vehicles as well,” said Luminar founder and CEO Austin Russell.

“We see Plus as a new strategic partner for us to enable enhanced safety and autonomous capabilities for production commercial vehicles at even greater scale, in light of their commercial success with some of the largest companies in the industry.”

Among Plus’s high-profile partners are Italian CV giant IVECO, with whom it is running trials of automated trucks in Europe – in Germany before expanding to Italy, Switzerland and Austria – and Bosch, the vehicle parts specialist who it has signed a deal with to develop self-driving solutions for CVs.

Its PlusDrive tech – which it considers Level 2++ (essentially enhanced driver assistance that requires constant supervision) – can handle scenarios such as stop-and-go traffic, lane changes, lane merges and staying centered in a lane. New features can be added via over-the-air updates.

“Luminar will enable PlusDrive to achieve new heights in sensing at further distances and at highway speeds,” said David Liu, CEO and co-founder at Plus. “This will enable the scalable commercialization of driver-in technology today and accelerate our customers’ path to full autonomy tomorrow.”

The pair have also confirmed they intend to collaborate on Luminar’s commercial vehicle insurance program, high-definition mapping and sensor integration.

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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