The Iris lidar units are being produced for a client who works with automakers, according to Luminar, a firm that makes automotive sensors. This marks a significant accomplishment as the business had previously projected that it would reach this point around year’s end.
On SAIC Motor, the largest Chinese automakernew ,’s electric SUV, the Rising Auto R7, Luminar’s lidar units are a component of a sophisticated driver-assist system. Production has begun after several months of testing during which prototype R7s equipped with the new system travelled more than 400,000 kilometres on highways throughout China, according to Luminar.
In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, CEO Austin Russell said, “After 10 years of innovating, prototyping, developing, industrialising, and all this stuff, we’ve finally struck the huge inflection point.” “For the first time, autonomous technology has moved from research and development to consumer manufacturing automobiles.”
The statement coincides with Luminar’s third-quarter results, which showed that the business had a revenue of $12.8 million and an adjusted loss per share of 18 cents. For the third quarter of 2021, Luminar recorded a loss of 10 cents per share and $8 million in revenue.
Additionally, Luminar reaffirmed its earlier forecast, saying that it still anticipates full-year sales of between $40 million and $45 million. At the end of the third quarter, Luminar has $553 million less cash on hand than it did on June 30 ($605 million less).
Although Luminar had previously disclosed agreements to supply other manufacturers including as Volvo Cars and Polestar, it had not previously stated intentions to start Iris unit production before 2023. The EX90, Volvo’s forthcoming electric flagship SUV, which is scheduled to be unveiled next week, will come standard with Luminar’s lidar.
A driver assistance package that is optional for the upcoming electric Polestar 3 SUV will include Luminar’s lidar units as well, Polestar announced last month.
The Canadian electronics company Celestica owns a plant in Mexico where the lidar devices are produced. Together, Celestica and Luminar are constructing a brand-new, specialised facility in Mexico that will be able to produce 250,000 Iris units annually. According to Russell, the factory is scheduled to start producing in the middle of 2023.