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January 20, 2022 10:00 AM, EST

Mercedes Taps Luminar for Lidar

Mercedes logoDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

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Mercedes-Benz plans to use laser sensors from Luminar Technologies Inc. in a next-generation vehicle platform to enable semi-autonomous driving features on highways.

Daimler AG’s Mercedes and supplier Luminar, which went public via a $3.4 billion reverse merger in 2020, declined to specify which models will include the laser-based technology, the volume of planned vehicle production or when the cars will debut.

Mercedes also is taking an unspecified minority stake in the Orlando, Fla.-based lidar manufacturer, Luminar said Jan. 20.

Most self-driving tech developers consider lidar, which bounces lasers off objects to enable a vehicle to “see” its surroundings, a critical safety layer that helps cars pilot themselves on highways, freeing up drivers to check email or watch a movie. Laser sensors also can improve the performance of existing safety features such as automatic emergency braking, Luminar says.

Luminar also has a production deal with Volvo Car AB, which plans to incorporate a lidar-based safety system on its electric XC90 SUV coming out this year. SAIC, China’s biggest automaker, has said it will use Luminar for its electric R brand cars.

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