Luminar Technologies' 25-year-old founder is now a billionaire
Luminar Technologies, which makes laser sensors for self-driving cars, started trading as a public company on Thursday, turning its 25-year-old founder Austin Russell into an instant billionaire.
Why it matters: Luminar is emerging as one of the leading suppliers of lidar technology, which uses laser beams to give vehicles a three-dimensional view of the road.
- Volvo is using Luminar's lidar sensors on its first hands-free models coming in 2022, and Luminar has partnerships with Daimler Trucks and Intel's Mobileye unit.
What to watch: Luminar has proven its technology works, and Russell says multiple automakers are developing software to work with its sensors ahead of potential deployment.
- The challenge is whether Luminar can produce the complex laser devices at a mass scale.
- Russell tells Axios the company has perfected the manufacturing process and is close to announcing a deal with a contract manufacturer in Mexico.
Fun fact: Luminar's apt ticker symbol is "LAZR."