Luminar Studio Day Unveils Robo-taxi and Trucking Concepts alongside Live Drives Through NYC

Today, at its inaugural Studio Day in New York City, Luminar Technologies, introduced Blade, what it describes as its vision for the future of design and integration of autonomous technology across Robo-taxis, trucking and consumer cars. Luminar also showcased the first consumer vehicle fully integrated with Luminar’s Iris lidar, which is on track for series production with Luminar’s OEM partners, starting in late 2022. The company is kicking off a global customer roadshow this week to demonstrate Iris's performance, capabilities, and design integration.

“Luminar is making the transition from the leader in lidar to the leader in automotive autonomy and safety. Historically autonomous vehicle companies have been exclusively focused on robo-taxis, but our focus has been building the technology foundation for autonomy starting with consumer vehicles and moving across verticals including trucks and robo-taxis,” said Austin Russell, Founder and CEO of Luminar. “Ultimately, it takes more than just great technology to deliver great design, and that’s exactly why we’re proud to show off the Blade concept with Iris that goes beyond the cars of today and visualizes the robo-taxis and trucks of tomorrow.”

When it comes to automotive, harmony of form, function, and technology is paramount for consumers and car makers. The company says Blade is a first-ever concept and a robust design expression of autonomous technology seamlessly integrated into cars, trucks and robo-taxis. It creates a foundation for a new vehicle architecture that automakers can incorporate into vehicle development programs from the onset. The Blade concepts unveiled today for robo-taxi and trucking represent a creative collaboration between Luminar and NewDealDesign, led by acclaimed technology designer Gadi Amit.

“To create the best car design and user experience, autonomous technology must be engineered and designed hand-in-hand from the ground up,” said Jason Wojack, Senior Vice President of Product Development at Luminar who honed his design-meets-engineering sensibility as the chief architect of the Motorola Droid RAZR, which revolutionized the slimness of phones. “Focusing on form and function at not just the lidar-level but the vehicle-level has enabled Luminar to spearhead the design integration of autonomous technology, which is among the fastest design breakthroughs in automotive history.”

Luminar’s Iris is the first autonomous technology designed to marry form and function: it combines performance, auto-grade robustness, scalability, and automotive aesthetic seamlessly. Iris was designed from the beginning to be cleanly integrated into the vehicle roofline, displacing the roof-rack style conglomerates historically seen on autonomous development vehicles and leapfrogging bolt-on products in development.

“Many technology companies under-appreciate the importance of design in envisioning fundamental technology architecture, especially when it comes to automotive. Luminar has redefined AV design with seamless consumer vehicle integration, and is taking it to the next level with the Blade concept,” said Amit. “We hope that Blade can become the manifestation of blending lidar, autonomy, and next-generation vehicle design in an optimized and iconic way.”

Luminar unveiled two Blade blueprints, which speak to the unique design and use case requirements for robo-taxi and trucking. Both concepts integrate the sensing technology into the roofline of the vehicle, creating an autonomous “blade.”

Luminar’s Blade Robo-taxi design imagines:

  • A sleek, roomy and inspiring car design for autonomous operation on highways and urban environments

  • Located for best performance, the golden ‘Blade’ runs across the crown of the vehicle, incorporating 4 Luminar lidars for 360-degree coverage

  • Built for consumers as well as ridesharing operations as lines between applications blur

Luminar’s Blade trucking design imagines:

  • A compact and seamless autonomous design integration

  • A three-lidar configuration for long-range sensing in all directions

  • Capability to retrofit onto existing class 8 trucks