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Luminar and Volvo lead the autonomous electric SUV charge

With Luminar as standard, Volvo cars’ forthcoming fully electric SUV will debut in California with Highway Autonomy capabilities

Luminar, a global leader in automotive LiDAR hardware and software technology, and Volvo Cars, the global automotive safety leader, revealed at the recent CES event in Las Vegas the launch plans for the all-electric next-generation SUV.

The event also marked the North American debut of the automaker’s Concept Recharge, a manifesto for Volvo Cars’ future, with Luminar’s Iris LiDAR seamlessly integrated into the roofline.

Democratising safety and autonomy

“Luminar’s vision is to democratise next-generation safety and autonomy, and we’re already seeing this become a reality with the first vehicle launching on Volvo’s new platform,” said Austin Russell, Luminar Founder and CEO.

“With Luminar as standard on every vehicle, their next SUV has the opportunity to be the safest vehicle ever produced, while also being the first to enable true autonomy and at highway speed.”

The initial introduction of Volvo Cars’ Ride Pilot, an unsupervised autonomous driving capability for highways, will be made to customers in California, once it has been verified as safe for use and planned to be available as an add-on subscription.

It will come equipped as standard with state-of-the-art LiDAR hardware with Luminar’s Iris and perception from its Sentinel solution to enable Proactive Safety™ from day one. Along with software developed by AD software company Zenseact, together with Volvo Cars’ in-house team of developers.

Rigorous testing and verification

“We are proud to announce the planned US launch of our first truly unsupervised autonomous driving feature, as we look to set a new industry standard for autonomy without compromising safety,” said Mats Moberg, head of research and development at Volvo Cars.

“Having Zenseact’s brand new AD software and Luminar’s LiDAR standard in our new fully electric SUV is a game-changer for Volvo Cars, as well as for automotive safety and autonomous driving.”

As part of this verification process, Volvo Cars has applied for a testing permit with the California Department of Transportation and intends to begin testing on highways in the middle of the year where the climate, traffic conditions and regulatory framework provide a favourable environment for the introduction of autonomous driving. To date, Zenseact has led testing autonomous driving functionalities on roads in Sweden and collecting data across Europe and the United States.

“Delivering a new safety standard for the industry requires a level of rigorous testing and verification that will expand globally,” said Odgard Anderson, CEO of Zenseact.

“Zenseact AD software plays a key role in this new standard and our journey towards zero collisions.”

Blazing the trail

Luminar's slim Iris LiDAR integrated in a roofline
Luminar’s Iris LiDAR discreetly integrated into the vehicle roofline

At CES, Luminar also featured the Concept Recharge in its booth, showcasing a new era of vehicle design with technology celebrated and at the forefront. In 2020, Volvo Cars gave a first look at the next-generation SUV featuring a completely reimagined roofline that featured the safety technology discreetly integrated into it, while also giving a visual cue of its superior technical prowess. This was the first time an automaker had designed autonomous technology into the roofline of a vehicle that will be made available to consumers.

Since then, numerous automakers have followed suit.

Level Five Supplies will have Iris LiDAR available for demonstrations from April 2022 – contact us to arrange your demo