Lidar startup Luminar goes public, sends share prices soaring

By | December 7, 2020

Luminar Technologies Inc. started trading as a public company on Thursday under the ticker symbol LAZR, marking the second Silicon Valley firm to go public while working to deliver a key sensor for self-driving cars. The price of Luminar’s shares rose above $30 on December 4th, reflecting a massive 43 percent increase, in addition to its recent gains.

As a result, Luminar has become one of the leading companies in the rapidly-growing lidar industry. Automobile manufacturers are all set to begin rolling out lidar-enabled vehicles in the next few years to ramp up their driver-assistance technology offerings. Hence, LiDAR companies are aggressively competing to win contracts for supplying the required sensors.

Luminar made a major breakthrough in May when it bagged a deal with Volvo to supply lidar sensors for its vehicles, from 2022, one of the first such deals in the industry.

Luminar also won a contract for supplying lidar sensors to Mobileye, a subsidiary of Intel, that supplies several camera-based driver assistance systems used in today’s cars. While Luminar is only supplying sensors for Mobileye’s self-driving prototypes and not its production vehicles, if Mobileye ends up developing its next-generation technology based on Luminar’s lidar, it could provide a massive boost to Luminar’s lidar sales in the future.

Unlike industry leader Velodyne’s traditional 360-degree spinning units that are fixed on to a vehicle’s roof, Luminar’s sensors stay fixed in place, covering a 120 degree horizontal field of view in front of a vehicle.

With long range capabilities being essential for advanced self-driving systems, Luminar’s lidar sensors boast of an industry-leading range of 250 meters. This might be because Luminar’s lasers operate at an unusual frequency. Most lidar sensors function at around 900nm since silicon-based lasers and sensors are highly compatible with this frequency. However, 900nm lasers are also restricted by strict power limits as they can potentially damage the human retina.

The post Lidar startup Luminar goes public, sends share prices soaring appeared first on Geospatial World.

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