The Volvo Cars Tech Fund has completed their first strategic investment, taking a stake in a start-up company called Luminar. Based in Palo Alto, California, and Orlando, Florida, Luminar’s expertise in sensor and LiDAR technology will help bolster Vovlo’s commitment to manufacturing a safe and viable autonomous car.
“LiDAR is a key technology for enabling autonomous cars to navigate safely in complex traffic environments and at higher speeds,” explained Henrik Green, Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Volvo Cars.
Launched earlier this year, the Volvo Cars Tech Fund focuses on state-of-the-art trends like artificial intelligence, electrification, autonomous driving, and digital mobility services. Investments, mergers, and acquisitions in this sector are growing. During AutoSens Brussels last September, Rudy Burger, Managing Partner, Woodside Capital Partners, spoke on how such developments within the automotive arena impact future mobility.
“What we are seeing is a number of very large companies placing bets – significant bets – whereby they believe in order to create a controlling position in the market, they must actually acquire a company,” he said during his presentation.
“Luminar represents exactly the type of company and technology we seek to invest in, providing us with strategic access to new technologies, capabilities, and talent,” said Zaki Fasihuddin, CEO of the Tech Fund. “Supporting promising young firms that are at the forefront of technological development will help us introduce cutting-edge technology that strengthens our leading role in the industry.”
Start-up companies like Lumina benefit by being able to leverage Volvo’s network of automotive and technology partners while more effectively validating their own innovations and streamlining the process of getting them to market.
“Volvo is at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development, and their safety-centric approach to autonomy is directly aligned with our sensing capabilities,” said Austin Russell, Luminar Founder and CEO. “Our LiDAR is the first to deliver the necessary performance to enable safe and reliable long-range perception, which is required to unlock their goals of autonomy at highway speeds.”
“Our collaboration with Luminar allows us to learn more about its promising technologies and takes Volvo Cars one step further to the highly autonomous cars of the future,” Green added.