Lidar company Luminar has made strides to reach its 2022 goals. This includes signing a new commercial contract with an unnamed automaker and shipping production-ready sensors to SAIC. It also acquired a small HD mapping startup called Civil Maps.
The acquisition, which was revealed Wednesday during Luminar founder and CEO Austin Russell’s presentation at CES 2023, is more than just a large public company tapping into the consolidation industry. Given the , there could not have been a better timing.
For Russell, this acquisition is part of a long-term vision to become more than just a lidar supplier for Luminar. According to Russell, mapping, and in particular the mapping technology his Civil Maps created, is fundamental to that goal.
why map? Russell believes the company’s lidar sensors, combined with perception software and his HD maps, are essential to improving the safety and functionality of advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving features in vehicles.
“we Have got a Vision To Become can To create of beginning correct, comprehensive, Uptono-date map of of world of Russell said Wednesday at CES 2023. We believe this contributes greatly to the foundation of what we have built on our rider. ”
Russell argues that the integration of Civil Maps’ technology into Luminar’s lidar sensors, including its perception software, will be very valuable when deployed at scale. Luminar has announced many commercial successes in the past year. The company’s lidar sensors will be installed in SAIC and Volvo production models. It also has contracts with Nissan, Mercedes and Polestar. Based on internal estimates, the company expects more than 1 million of his Luminar-powered vehicles to be on the road by the second half of the decade (i.e. 2025 onwards).
“This is the first time that we can have a truly comprehensive view of everything that is going on. Up-to-date maps of the world and vehicles contribute to this overall map,” said Russell. said on stage. .
According to Russell, the acquisition is part of Luminar’s strategy to continue “moving up the stack,” similar to Luminar’s acquisition of laser chip company Freedom Photonics in 2022. In other words, Luminar wants to give automakers all, or at least much more, of what they need to market their next-generation vehicles with self-driving capabilities.
And based on today’s economics, Russell expects more acquisitions in 2023.
“Sometimes we’re talking about deals that are 1/10th or 1/20th of what people wanted the year before,” he said. Russell cautioned, however, that Luminar has no intention of buying lidar or related technology companies.
“It’s all about relative values, isn’t it?” he added. “Obviously, we have to be very smart about this in this kind of market and be very conservative about what we do. If we think we can only get double the added value, we won’t do it.”