Luminar will provide its Iris to all upcoming Mercedes models.
Luminar, a global automotive technology company, has announced a new partnership with Mercedes-Benz to provide LiDAR hardware and operating software to all upcoming next-generation production vehicles. The German brand is the second high-profile automaker to partner with Luminar, the first being Volvo.
Luminar introduced the Iris last year and claims it's the most advanced LiDAR solution for series-production autonomous solutions. Since then, Mercedes-Benz has successfully completed an initial testing phase and hit all of the milestones set for the system.
The two brands first teamed up two years ago, but it was a collaborative deal to advance the technology. There's a vast difference between a collaboration and an official contract to supply parts to the oldest brand in the industry. This multi-billion dollar deal will significantly affect both companies' futures.
According to Luminar's press release, Mercedes set strict parameters for the Iris. Mercedes is currently working on a conditionally automated driving system that needs to operate at high speeds on the freeway while being sensitive enough to detect urban traffic hazards. Luminar was also involved in a study to see how well advanced driver assistance features do in the dark, so Iris likely has that criteria covered as well.
As you can see from the below image, Iris can easily be integrated into almost any design. Mercedes can accommodate the box in the lower bumper of the EQS or make space for it in the grille when the time for a facelift arrives. Iris is also small enough to fit on Merc's upcoming smaller luxury cars.
"Mercedes' standards for vehicle safety and performance are among the highest in the industry, and [its] decision to double down on Luminar reinforces that commitment," said founder and CEO of Luminar Austin Russell. "We are now set to enable the broadest scale deployment of this technology in the industry. It's been an incredible sprint so far, and we are fully committed to making this happen with Mercedes-Benz."
"In a first step, we introduced a Level 3 system in our top-line models. Next, we want to implement advanced automated driving features [on] a broader scale within our portfolio," said Markus Schafer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes Benz Group AG and Chief Technology Officer, Development & Procurement. "I am convinced that Luminar is a great partner to help realize our vision and roadmap for automated and accident-free driving."
Mercedes is already at the forefront of Level 3 self-driving. With this multi-billion dollar deal, Level 4 won't be too far away.
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