Volvo Cars will equip its next-generation cars with Luminar LiDAR and perception technology. The partnership will deliver Volvo’s first fully self-driving technology for highways and paves the way for future active safety developments. Volvo Cars took a stake in Luminar in 2018 (earlier post).
Volvo Cars’ next-generation SPA 2 modular vehicle architecture will be available as hardware-ready for autonomous drive from production start in 2022, with the Luminar LiDAR seamlessly integrated into the roof.
Luminar roofline LiDAR integration
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.
In addition to the Highway Pilot feature, Volvo Cars and Luminar 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 high performance LiDAR sensors, which emit millions of pulses of laser light to accurately detect where objects are by scanning the environment in 3D, creating a temporary, real-time map without requiring internet connectivity.
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. Put together, this gives Volvo users who want it access to a safe, fully self-driving feature for use on highways.
Soon, your Volvo will be able to drive autonomously on highways when the car determines it is safe to do so. 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.—Henrik Green, chief technology officer at Volvo Cars
As part of the announcement, Volvo Cars and Luminar are deepening their collaboration jointly to ensure robust industrialization and validation of Luminar’s LiDAR technology for series production. Volvo Cars has also signed an agreement possibly to increase its minority stake in Luminar.
For Silicon Valley-based Luminar, partnering with Volvo Cars represents the company’s first delivery of its technology into series production. This is a key step to achieving the economies of scale that are required to bring the technology to the wider automotive industry.