Luminar and Plus partner to bring LiDAR, AI to commercial trucking

Automated and fully autonomous driving developer Plus has selected Luminar as its exclusive long-range LiDAR provider to support its PlusDrive assisted driving system for commercial vehicles. Together, the companies hope to expand road safety and autonomy across the commercial trucking segment.

Luminar Technologies Inc. ($LAZR) is an automotive component company founded 11 years ago that has since established itself as one of the industry leaders in LiDAR and machine perception technology.

For nearly four years, we’ve followed Luminar’s Iris long-range LiDAR technology, which has led to multiple business relationships with major automakers like Volvo Cars and now Polestar, beginning with its upcoming Polestar 3 SUV.

Mercedes-Benz has also recently expanded its existing partnership with Luminar with an investment reportedly in the “multibillions” that will enable it to implement Luminar’s next-generation sensor technology, Iris+, into all future Mercedes-Benz models.

Scaled LiDAR production is underway ahead of schedule at Luminar’s new highly-automated manufacturing facility in Monterrey, Mexico. As the company continues to expand its technology across passenger vehicles, Luminar is now teaming up with Plus to provide driving assist technologies to commercial vehicles as well – whether they have a driver or not.

Luminar LiDAR
Luminar’s Iris+ LiDAR technology / Credit: Luminar

Luminar sees commercial trucks as an emerging LiDAR market

Plus and Luminar shared details of their new partnership this morning, in which the latter becomes the exclusive provider of mid- to long-range LiDAR for the former’s factory-installed assisted driving system – PlusDrive.

In exchange, Plus becomes Luminar’s exclusive third-party provider of AI-based enhanced driver assist software for its commercial vehicle solutions designed for OEMs. Luminar’s Iris LiDAR, in particular, already meets the strict performance and reliability requirements to support Class 8 commercial trucks and has road visibility capabilities approximately 20 seconds ahead at highway speeds.

By combining its tech with Plus’ AI, the new partners are empowered to deliver advanced safety systems that can further ensure comfort, efficiency, and less risk of accidents on busy freight highways, all while implementing the necessary technology to enable autonomous driving if desired by a given OEM. Per Luminar founder and CEO Austin Russell:

Trucking is a key emerging market for Luminar, and the same products and technology we’ve successfully executed on for our production consumer vehicle programs are beginning to be deployed on commercial vehicles as well. We see Plus as a new strategic partner for us to enable enhanced safety and autonomous capabilities for production commercial vehicles at even greater scale, in light of their commercial success with some of the largest companies in the industry.

The aforementioned PlusDrive system, a Level 2++ solution that enables supervised autonomy, is already commercially used by some of the world’s largest freight fleets. The AI-based software processes data, predicts the driving behavior of nearby vehicles, and safely maneuvers a commercial vehicle through stop-and-go traffic, lane changes, etc.

Combine that software with LiDAR from Luminar, and both companies believe they can ensure commercial trucking is more cost-effective and, more importantly, safer for its OEM clients.

In addition to becoming each other’s exclusive component providers, Plus and Luminar said they will look to collaborate on Luminar’s commercial vehicle insurance program, HD mapping, and trucking sensor integration called “Blade.” Check out PlusDrive in action in the video below.

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