Solid state lidar is the direction all of the companies jockeying for position in the driverless car market are headed with the exception of Luminar Technologies. Led by a 22 – year old lidar whiz kid this start-up’s technology includes two mirrors and other moving parts that steer a single pencil of laser light around a scene so that a single photodetector can measure the distance to every detail.
“There’s nothing wrong with moving parts,” says Luminar founder and CEO Austin Russell. “There are a lot of moving parts in a car, and they last for 100,000 miles or more.”
He’s got a point there. The challenge is the cost. With $36 million in VC money and 160 employees some people are believers.