Volvo Cars to integrate Luminar LiDAR technology
Volvo Cars is partnering with tech firm Luminar to provide LiDAR and perception technology for its next-generation cars. The partnership is expected to deliver the company’s first fully self-driving technology for highways, and pave the way for future active safety developments.
Volvo Cars’ next generation SPA 2 modular vehicle architecture will be available as hardware-ready for autonomous drive from a production start in 2022, with the Luminar LiDAR integrated into the roof. Cars based on SPA 2 will be updated with software over the air and, if customers decide to opt for it, the Highway Pilot feature that enables fully autonomous highway driving will be activated once it is verified to be safe for individual geographic locations and conditions.
“Autonomous drive has the potential to be one of the most lifesaving technologies in history, if introduced responsibly and safely,” said Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars. “Providing our future cars with the vision they require to make safe decisions is an important step in that direction.”
In addition to the Highway Pilot feature, both companies are also exploring LiDAR’s role in improving future advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), with the potential for equipping all future SPA 2-based cars with a LiDAR sensor as standard.
Luminar’s technology is based on its LiDAR sensors. To enable the Highway Pilot feature, Luminar’s perception technology will be combined with autonomous drive software and the cameras, radars, and back-up systems for functions such as steering, braking, and battery power installed on forthcoming Volvo cars equipped for self-driving.
“Soon, your Volvo will be able to drive autonomously on highways when the car determines it is safe to do so,” said Green. “At that point, your Volvo takes responsibility for the driving and you can relax, take your eyes off the road, and your hands off the wheel. Over time, updates over the air will expand the areas in which the car can drive itself. For us, a safe introduction of autonomy is a gradual introduction.”
As part of the announcement, the two companies are deepening their collaboration to jointly ensure industrialization and validation of the LiDAR technology for series production. For Silicon Valley-based Luminar, partnering with Volvo Cars represents the company’s first delivery of its technology into series production.
“Volvo is recognized as the pioneer of automotive safety, having driven standardization across the industry for the most advanced life-saving technologies,” said Austin Russell, Founder and CEO of Luminar. “The next era of safety lies within autonomous driving and once again, Volvo has taken the lead with a major industry milestone. We’ve solved the key cost, performance, and auto-grade challenges to make series production possible, and alongside Volvo are making the technology available to the world.”
For more information, visit volvocars.com.