Hot lidar startup Luminar teams up with Airbus to make helicopters safer
The Hustle

Hot lidar startup Luminar teams up with Airbus to make helicopters safer

Helmed by 26-year old billionaire Austin Russell, Luminar’s LIDAR tech is used on self-driving cars and...now, helicopters.


April 29, 2021

Luminar Technologies may be the hottest company that’s not named Tesla or Stripe.

The (freshly public) lidar company announced a partnership with Airbus — the largest airplane manufacturer in the world — to help make its aircraft safer.

Specifically, helicopters…

Turns out, helicopter accidents happen quite frequently — with many caused by pilot error or striking obstacles during low-altitude flight (RIP, Mamba).

Luminar and Airbus plan to use lidar systems to improve the overall safety of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. The tech works by bouncing millions of laser bursts off surrounding surfaces, then using software to model what the systems “see.”

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The partnership is Luminar’s 1st with an aviation company and its 1st with a non-car company.

Because when you’ve got a hot hand, play it…

Helmed by 26-year-old billionaire Austin Russell, Luminar’s Airbus partnership adds fuel to the company’s recent hot streak.

Last May, it inked a partnership with Volvo to supply lidar sensors for its cars — adding to deals it already had with Audi and Toyota.

And in December, Luminar went public in a reverse merger as “LAZR” under a blank-check company.

So let’s recap Luminar’s scoreboard: SPAC ✅, automobiles ✅, planes ✅. Now taking bets on an incoming train announcement.

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