Volvo tech fund invests in advanced-sensor company
Volvo Cars has taken another step towards a future of highly autonomous cars with its newly founded Tech Fund’s first strategic investment in an advanced-sensor technology company.
The investment in Luminar – based in Palo Alto, California, and Orlando, Florida – deepens Volvo Cars’ existing collaboration with the firm, which currently focuses on development and testing of its LiDAR sensing technology on Volvo cars.
LiDAR, which stands for light detection and ranging, uses pulsed laser signals to detect objects, is a crucial element of creating safe autonomous vehicles.
“LiDAR is a key technology for enabling autonomous cars to navigate safely in complex traffic environments and at higher speeds,” said Henrik Green, senior vice president for research and development at Volvo Cars. “Our collaboration with Luminar allows us to learn more about its promising technologies.”
The Volvo Cars Tech Fund was launched earlier in 2018 and aims to invest in high-potential technology start-ups worldwide. It focuses its investments on strategic technology trends that are transforming the industry, such as artificial intelligence, electrification, autonomous driving and digital mobility services.
“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.”
Companies will benefit in a number of ways from participation by the Volvo Cars Tech Fund. Apart from the association with one of the world’s leading premium car makers, start-ups may gain the ability to validate their technologies and accelerate the pace of achieving product market fit.
Moreover, start-ups may have the opportunity to benefit from Volvo Cars’ unique access to the Chinese car market, the world’s largest, as well as potential access to Volvo Cars’ global network of automotive and technology partners.
“Volvo is at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development, and its safety-centric approach to autonomy is directly aligned with our sensing capabilities,” said Luminar founder and CEO Austin Russell. “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.”
Click here to read the rest of our July I Roll stories.