Luminar, the buzzy sensor startup that is on the verge of becoming a publicly traded company, locked in a supplier deal to furnish Intel subsidiary Mobileye with lidar for its fleet of autonomous vehicles.
From an article in Tech Crunch by Kirsten Korosec.
The deal, announced Friday, will see a rising star paired with a company that has long dominated the automotive industry. While the supplier agreement is nowhere near the scale of Mobileye’s core computer vision business, it is an important collaboration that extends beyond a few pilot programs. Luminar has had a development agreement with Mobileye for nearly two years now. This new agreement signals the next critical step for both companies.
Mobileye’s camera-based sensors are used by most automakers to support advanced driver assistance systems. Today, more than 54 million vehicles have Mobileye technology. But the company, which was acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion in 2017, has branched out in recent years, moving beyond its advanced driver assistance technology and toward the development of a self-driving vehicle system. Two years ago, Mobileye announced plans to launch a kit that includes visual perception, sensor fusion, its REM mapping system and software algorithms.
Mobileye has since ratcheted up its self-driving ambitions and taken what some in the industry see as an unlikely turn to become a robotaxi operator, not just a supplier.
Luminar and Mobileye’s agreement while small at the moment is still a production contract. Luminar’s lidar will be part of Mobileye’s first-generation fleet of driverless vehicles, which are being piloted in Dubai, Tel Aviv, Paris, China and Daegu City, South Korea. Mobileye’s ultimate aim is to expand its robotaxi operations and sell its self-driving stack (or AV series solution) to other companies. Mobileye CEO Ammon Shashua has said the company is targeting commercial robotaxi services to be launched in 2022.
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