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.”

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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