Mercedes inks multi-billion dollar deal with Luminar

Mercedes inks multi-billion dollar deal with Luminar

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

At an investor meeting, Mercedes Benz announced important decisions regarding future electronics and software for its vehicles. According to this, the company will equip its mass-produced models with Lidar sensors from Luminar. And when it comes to navigation, the carmaker entered into a close cooperation with Google.

The Stuttgart-based car manufacturer has already been working with Luminar Technologies for two years. Now the two companies plan to intensify and expand their cooperation – Mercedes reportedly will integrate Luminar’s next-generation Iris lidar sensors into the next generation of its bread-and-butter vehicles (if one can speak of bread-and-butter in this luxury segment). This generation is expected to hit the market around the middle of the decade. The lidar sensors will enable accordingly equipped vehicles to drive at SAE autonomy level 3 – which means that the car will be able to roll along without driver interaction on certain roads; however, the driver will need to be able to assume control within a few seconds. According to media reports, Mercedes’ decision for Luminar is also a defeat for its competitor Valeo: The latter’s Lidar sensors are more complex in design and contain more mechanically moving parts than Luminar’s comparable models, they say.

According to Luminar, the performance of the Iris sensor is tailored to meet the demanding requirements of Mercedes-Benz for a new conditionally automated driving system that is planned to operate at higher speed for freeways, as well as for enhanced driver assistance systems for urban environments. It will also be simplifying the design integration with a sleeker profile. This multi-billion dollar deal is a milestone moment for the two companies and the industry and is poised to substantially enhance the technical capabilities and safety of conditionally automated driving systems.

“Mercedes’ standards for vehicle safety and performance are among the highest in the industry, and their decision to double down on Luminar reinforces that commitment,” said Austin Russell, Founder and CEO of Luminar. “

At the same time, Mercedes plans to open up its MB.OS operating system for the integration of Google Maps. However, Google navigation in the luxury cars from Stuttgart is to be Mercedes-branded. Mercedes will adopt geodata, real-time traffic, predictive traffic information and dynamic route changes from Google Maps. Google will also provide location-based information such as details of petrol stations, shops, hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions on the dashboard of Mercedes vehicles.

This decision is probably due to the realisation that the data of the mass-produced Android smartphones with Google navigation are clearly superior to the considerably more expensive built-in navigation systems of the various OEMs in terms of accuracy and real-time information. A corresponding long-term cooperation between Google and Mercedes is to start this year. Older vehicle models will also be able to benefit from the deal – they will receive the Google data and services via an OTA update.

Related articles:

Ford, Google team to reinvent connected vehicle technology

Microsoft integrates TomTom navigation into Connected Vehicle Platform

Mobileye tests self-driving vehicles in New York City

Mobileye choses Luminar for L4 autonomy solutions

Ouster, Velodyne merge to cut lidar costs

Gartner: Five most important technology trends in automotive engineering




Linked Articles