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Luminar, the manufacturer of high-performance lidar sensors for autonomous vehicles, is gaining prominence in the autonomous driving sphere as the company continues to ink high-profile deals just days before it is slated to go public by merging with the Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), Gores Metropoulos (NASDAQ:GMHI).
“… [Luminar] has struck a deal with Mobileye, an Intel company, to supply Luminar lidar for the company’s Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Series solution in its next phase of driverless car development and testing.”
The press statement went on to elaborate:
“As part of the agreement, Mobileye will collaborate with Luminar to use its lidar for the first generation of its level 4 Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) pilot and driverless fleet in key markets around the world, including Tel Aviv, Israel; Dubai, UAE; Paris, France; and Daegu City, South Korea.”
Crucially, Mobileye will add Luminar’s sensors to its TRUE REDUNDANCY™ solution – an integrated system that leverages data streams from 360-surround view cameras, lidar, and radar in order to deliver enhanced safety for level 4 autonomous driving.
Of course, we had noted previously that Luminar’s lidar sensors currently offer the maximum proverbial bang for the buck. As an illustration, the company’s proprietary lidar architecture utilizes an InGaAs Receiver & ASIC (2x) 1550nm Laser Dual-Axis Scanner, enabling a wider field of view, a range performance of over 250 meters, and a maximum resolution of over 300 pts/deg2 @ 10Hz.
Bear in mind that Intel’s SuperVision is the first autonomous driving system that is geared toward consumers and not just robotaxis. While the system is expected to launch only in the third quarter of 2021, it is continuously improved through the real-time data feed from Mobileye’s autonomous fleet deployed in Jerusalem since 2018. This approach is similar to the one currently being utilized by Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) to improve its Autopilot functionality by leveraging the continuous data stream originating from millions of EVs currently on the road.
This brings us to the crux of the matter. Intel currently calls its SuperVision solution an “L2++” ADAS. It is not a fully-autonomous L4 system due to the lower Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF). However, when aided by Luminar’s lidar sensors, 360-degree cameras, as well as radar, Mobileye’s Autonomous Driver-Assistance System (ADAS) will offer unmatched redundancy. Additionally, the system’s accuracy is further enhanced by pairing it with the 7nm-based EyeQ5 SoC, REM crowdsourced mapping, and a mathematical model of safety for Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) – dubbed the RSS Driving Policy. This means that Mobileye’s solution will exceed the capabilities of any other L4 ADAS system currently in the market, even Tesla’s Autopilot.
We speculated in a previous post that NIO (NYSE:NIO) should incorporate Luminar’s lidars in its own Navigate on Pilot (NOP) feature. Given that NIO is also a partner of Intel’s Mobileye division, we would not be surprised if this does now occur.
The broader market seems to be incorporating these developments in its bullish view vis-à-vis Luminar. As an illustration, shares of the SPAC Gores Metropoulos – which serve as the proxy for Luminar in the pre-merger phase – rose over 20 percent on Friday when the deal with Mobileye was first announced. Moreover, the shares are up another 5 percent in today’s pre-market. As stated earlier, Luminar is currently on the cusp of going public should the shareholders of the SPAC Gores Metropoulos approve the proposed business combination on the 1st of December.