Car maker Volvo takes stake in California autonomous driving start-up
Swedish car-maker Volvo has taken a stake in US start-up Luminar, based in California and Florida, to develop sensor technology for autonomous vehicles.
Volvo Cars, a subsidiary of Chinese automotive company Geely, has been working with Luminar already on development and testing of LiDAR technology, which uses pulsed laser signals to detect objects, in its connected and autonomous prototypes.
Henrik Green, senior vice president for research and development at Volvo Cars, commented: “LiDAR is a key technology for enabling autonomous cars to navigate safely in complex traffic environments and at higher speeds. Our collaboration with Luminar allows us to learn more about its promising technologies and takes Volvo Cars one step further to the highly autonomous cars of the future.”
The deal is the first from the Gothenburg-based company’s new Volvo Cars Tech Fund, launched in February to invest in technology start-ups focused on artificial intelligence, electrification, autonomous driving and digital mobility services.
Volvo said its start-up fund gives young enterprises a chance to validate and launch their technologies, as well as providing unique access to Volvo’s own network of automotive and technology partners, and the Chinese car market, the world’s largest car maker.
Luminar founder and chief executive Austin Russell said: “Volvo is at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development, and their safety-centric approach to autonomy is directly aligned with our sensing capabilities. Our LiDAR is the first to deliver the necessary performance to enable safe and reliable long-range perception, which is required to unlock their goals of autonomy at highway speeds.”
Zaki Fasihuddin, chief executive of Volvo’s start-up fund, said: “Luminar represents exactly the type of company and technology we seek to invest in. Supporting promising young firms that are at the forefront of technological development will help us introduce cutting-edge technology that strengthens our leading role in the industry.”
In May, at another staging post on the road to intelligent transport systems and autonomous vehicles, Volvo Cars and Volvo Trucks said they will share anonymised safety data between connected vehicles in Sweden and Norway in real time before the year is out, the pair have announced.