SAIC Motor Launches R Brand EV Line Powered by Luminar for Series Production
Luminar Technologies, Inc. has announced a strategic partnership with SAIC Motor Corporation Limited, the largest automaker in China. Luminar is to power the autonomous capabilities and advanced safety features in SAIC's new R brand vehicles for series production with its lidar and components of its Sentinel software system. The R brand program is expected to begin series production with Luminar starting in 2022, with the parties' longer-term goal being widespread standardization across all vehicle lines.
As part of the close collaboration, Luminar will also be establishing an office in China, to be located in Shanghai alongside SAIC Motor, where SAIC would also be providing local support for the partnership.
The partnership is expected to deliver the first autonomous production vehicles in China, establishing SAIC's technology leadership position and Luminar's production launch in the region. Luminar's Iris lidar is seamlessly integrated into the R brand vehicles' roofline at the optimal vantage point, while acting symbolically as a crown of the vehicle for safety and autonomy. Certain software components in Luminar's Sentinel solution, including object detection, classification, and tracking, are also planned to be integrated into R brand, enabling planned Highway Autonomy and Proactive Safety capabilities on the vehicles.
"SAIC has grown to establish itself as the largest automaker in the world's largest automotive market and has no intention of slowing down when it comes to electric and autonomous vehicles," said Austin Russell, Founder and CEO of Luminar. "Instead, they are leading the charge to set a new technology standard for both China and the industry at large. Luminar's hardware and software is uniquely able to make SAIC's vision a reality at a series production scale."
"Our new R brand line of vehicles will combine the best technology with luxury and comfort, and autonomous capabilities are central to that vision," said Yang Xiaodong, Vice President of SAIC Motor Corporation Limited. "The only autonomous vehicle company we seriously considered was Luminar - they are in a league of their own in lidar technology and software, uniquely enabling us to achieve our vision in series production."
Luminar engineers will work closely with SAIC Motor engineers to integrate hardware and software technology into its vehicles and fully optimize their performance and capabilities. Engineers are expected to incorporate over-the-air updates to expand the operating domain of autonomy and further improve the safety of cars over time.