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  • Writer's pictureNATALIA SOUSA

Luminar Takes to the Skies in Partnership With Airbus

Luminar Technologies, Inc., a global supplier in automotive lidar hardware and software technology, unveiled its partnership with Airbus UpNext. Airbus created the subsidiary to give future flight technologies a development fast-track by building, evaluating, maturing and validating new products and services that encompass radical technological breakthroughs.

The effort is part of the new Airbus Flightlab ecosystem launched in January 2021 that spans across the entire scope of Airbus' business lines. It uses flight testing as the principal means of proving out a variety of future technologies. The collaboration with Luminar will see teams of experts from both companies working closely to enhance sensing, perception, and system-level capabilities to enable safe, autonomous flight ultimately.

"As the world's largest aircraft manufacturer, Airbus has a long history of actively setting a new bar for the future of the aerospace industry, and the Luminar partnership with Airbus UpNext only furthers that trend," said Austin Russell, CEO and Founder of Luminar Technologies. "We're able to directly re-apply what we've accomplished for the automotive industry into aviation; an established nearly $1 trillion industry. We believe that automation and safety enhancements will transform how we move across all modes of transport as we take our technology from roads to the skies. We look forward to accelerating our shared vision to define the future of flying."

The platform's primary goal is to increase aircraft safety and ultimately enable autonomous operation with automatic obstacle detection. Luminar's technology is based on its high-performance lidar sensors, which emit millions of pulses of laser light to accurately detect where objects are by scanning the environment in 3D. It is key in enabling future aviation technologies, including autonomous urban air mobility (UAM) transport modes, because it serves as a central basis for a safe takeoff, landing, and in-flight decision making. It also has the potential to improve the safety of existing aircraft applications substantially.

"Partnering with Luminar, an industry leader in safe autonomous technologies, will help us define and explore the next step towards more autonomous flight vehicles," said Dr Sandra Bour Schaeffer, CEO of Airbus UpNext and Head of Airbus Group Demonstrators.

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