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Toyota Research Institute Partners with Luminar on Autonomous Vehicle Tech

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09/27/2017 | 10:03am EST

The research arm of the world’s largest auto manufacturer is the first to announce its work with Luminar to accelerate bringing its autonomous cars to market

The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) today unveiled its newest autonomous test vehicle, Platform 2.1, featuring Luminar’s sensing technology.

“We moved swiftly and early to adopt the Luminar platform into our fleet, and as a result we’re rapidly advancing our program,” said James Kuffner, Chief Technology Officer, Toyota Research Institute. “The level of data fidelity and range is unlike anything we’ve seen and is essential to be able to develop and deliver the most advanced automated driving systems.”

Since coming out of stealth last April, Luminar has scaled up its partnerships with a select few companies - TRI being the first to deeply integrate the new sensing platform.

“We’re proud to enable the most advanced and rapidly evolving autonomous vehicle programs,” said Luminar Founder and CEO, Austin Russell. “As the group defining the future of vehicle autonomy for the largest auto manufacturer in the world, TRI has the greatest opportunity to lead the charge in deploying life-saving self-driving technology at scale. By equipping vehicles with the best quality 3D data, better-than-human perception can finally become a reality - charting the fastest, safest course for full autonomy.”

Luminar’s LiDAR delivers more than an order of magnitude greater resolution than current sensors and the ability to see dark objects, such as a tire (10% reflectivity) at over 200 meters, compared to less than 40 meters. The sensor is also the first to allow resolution to be concentrated where it’s needed most, in real time, enabling the car to clearly see and recognize cars, people, and objects, even at distance.

Five years ago, Luminar was founded and began development of a new LiDAR architecture, becoming the only platform to achieve the necessary sensor requirements to ultimately deliver safer-than-human autonomous vehicles. To get there, Luminar took a new approach by building all major components in its system from the ground up: lasers, receivers, scanning mechanisms and processing electronics. The radical architecture requires only a single laser, single receiver, and ultra-fast scanner to collect millions of points of information in the environment from just a fraction of the components used in today’s LiDAR systems.

About Toyota Research Institute

Toyota Research Institute is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor North America under the direction of Dr. Gill Pratt. The company, established in 2015, aims to strengthen Toyota’s research structure and has four initial mandates: 1) enhance the safety of automobiles, 2) increase access to cars to those who otherwise cannot drive, 3) translate Toyota’s expertise in creating products for outdoor mobility into products for indoor mobility, and 4) accelerate scientific discovery by applying techniques from artificial intelligence and machine learning. TRI is based in the United States, with offices in Los Altos, Calif., Cambridge, Mass., and Ann Arbor, Mich. For more information about TRI, please visit www.tri.global.

About Luminar Technologies

In April 2017, Luminar came out of stealth after five years in development to debut a new sensing technology that is poised to become the core platform to enable safe, fully autonomous vehicles. To date, the company has raised $36M in funding from Canvas Ventures, GVA Capital and 1517 Fund, has built a team of over 250 people across three offices, including a 70,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Orlando where it will begin a 10,000-unit run this year. Luminar has partnered with four of the top programs and is in the midst of supplying them with our current iteration of technology, which is now being tested on public roads. For more information please go to https://www.luminartech.com/.


© Business Wire 2017
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