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Luminar Day recap: Iris+ lidar unveiled, high-volume production and semiconductor business

Luminar Day

Global automotive tech company and lidar specialist Luminar Technologies hosted its annual Luminar Day event at its headquarters in Orlando, Florida, today, offering a slew of updates on its progress. This includes new lidar like its Iris+ sensor, a more clear product roadmap bolstered by a new high-volume production facility in North America, and consolidated subsidiaries into a new semiconductor business. Lots to unfold here, so let’s get started.

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Mercedes-Benz shares details of new OS, doubles down on Luminar’s lidar technology

Mercedes lidar

Mercedes-Benz announced multiple newsworthy innovations during its Operating System Strategy Update in Sunnyvale, California earlier today. The German automaker announced it is building its own proprietary operating system called MB.OS which will offer features like navigation and maps from Google. Additionally, Mercedes announced it is expanding upon a previous partnership with lidar specialist Luminar in a new multi-billion dollar deal to integrate the tech by mid-decade.

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Tesla still has no plans to use LiDAR in consumer vehicles, but does use the tech for ‘ground truthing’

As we reported last month, Tesla’s plans to bring self-driving cars to market without using LiDAR sensors are raising a few eyebrows. That’s because we have been told for years now by most people in the industry that it wasn’t achievable, but the company moved forward with its plans in a big way last month when it started producing all cars with a self-driving-ready hardware suite without LiDAR.

The Drive is now confusing quite a few people about Tesla’s strategy by claiming that the automaker is actually planning to use LiDAR in a new article titled: “Despite Public Stance, Musk Secretly Plans to Use LiDAR in Future Tesla Models: Ignore Musk’s tweets and what he’s said in earnings calls, a Tesla equipped with LiDAR is in the works.” (Update: the Drive has since changed its headline to nuance the claim)

But it’s actually not the case. Here’s why: Expand

Elon Musk announces ‘moderate to big’ improvements for Autopilot on current hardware

tesla autopilot

The limits of the Autopilot under its current suite of sensors have been debated for a while, especially since Tesla has been discussing an upcoming second-generation hardware for the program to allow fully autonomous driving.

But last night, Elon Musk announced that “certainly moderate and maybe big advances” are possible with Tesla’s current sensors. Expand

Tesla Model S with a LIDAR sensor spotted around Tesla’s HQ [Photo]

Tesla model S with LIDAr

A Tesla Model S with a LIDAR sensor mounted on the roof has been spotted around the automaker’s headquarters in Palo Alto last week. Tesla is set to soon release its next generation sensor suite for the Autopilot program, but so far, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made it clear that a lidar sensor is not in the company’s plans.

Maybe things have changed, but it’s unlikely. Expand