Mercedes-Benz will add Luminar lidar to “a broad range” of vehicles by mid-decade

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Mercedes-Benz has announced plans to add lidar sensors to a broad range of its vehicles by the middle of the decade. The laser sensors will be supplied by Luminar, a Florida-based company in which Mercedes owns a small investment stake. The lidar will help power the company’s next-generation driver-assist system, which allows for hands-free unsupervised driving on certain highways. The expanded deal will mean expanding Luminar’s manufacturing footprint to include a factory in Asia. Mercedes is the latest automaker to commit to selling vehicles with lidar sensors, joining companies like Volvo, Audi, Toyota Research Institute, Intel’s Mobileye, Daimler Trucks, Airbus, and two Chinese companies. The goal is to reduce the cost of lidar from as much as $75,000 to as low as $500 a unit for advanced driver-assistance systems. Mercedes is also pursuing Level 3 driver-assist systems, which require a driver to be ready to take control of the vehicle. Mercedes is not the only automaker pursuing the technology, with Ford, Audi, BMW, and Volvo all working on their own Level 3 systems. Mercedes’ goal is to make lidar more affordable and accessible to the public.

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