Yesterday, Luminar unveiled its Blade sensor suite. Blade fits unobtrusively onto a vehicle roof, and gains 360 degree visibility by dint of different sensors placed on different sides of the roof. This is as opposed to rotating 360 single-sensor lidars that sit very visibly at the top of a vehicle’s roof.
Luminar announces a lot of news, to the point that I can’t really tell how impactful any individual announcement is. But Luminar still feels to me like the company best-positioned to offer an alternative to Mobileye in the advanced driver assistance space. Almost every other company in the space is either a specialized sensor or software supplier, or a large integrator, like a Tier 1 supplier.
Luminar seems to have the best combination of comprehensive hardware plus software expertise.
Blade seems like a step in that direction. You could imagine a vehicle manufacturer purchasing Blades without really having to think about how they work. Just design Blades onto the roof and get a perception stack, no problem.
Obviously that’s a naive projection, but that’s the turn-key solution the industry would love.