What is ‘Luminar Technologies’ exactly?
As Austin explains, Luminar produces new types of LIDAR (acronym for light, detection and ranging) sensors that allow autonomous vehicles to “see and understand the world around them.” Now if, like me, you don’t have a Physics background, you might be a bit confused about what this means exactly. In simpler terms: LIDAR sensors are basically radars (made with lasers) that exist in the eyes of new self-driving cars. They allow the cars to “see” every object and person around them so that they can adapt to their surroundings. Austin believes that his technology has the potential to save lives once incorporated into the advanced driver-assistance systems that many companies, like Volvo and Toyota, are bringing to market in the near future.
In a conference he perfectly showcased how what other companies are doing with their laser sensors is not enough; even the most intelligent programmes are not that advanced and so can be the cause of accidents according to Austin. For instance, the best performing system can only detect objects 40 meters ahead which, when you are speeding on the highway, translates to only a second in advance.
This is why Austin decided that a new approach was needed and with Luminar, he rebuilt the system from scratch. His radar is incredibly powerful, with a range 10 times higher than the best programmes out there. Thanks to this programme says Austin, ‘the car could see further than humans’.
The young billionaire brings a fresh wave of ideas to the futuristic car industry, on his mission to “make autonomy as safe and ubiquitous as possible”.
We can’t wait to see more of his projects!
Luminar going public mints 25-year-old autonomous driving billionaire (cnbc.com)