Mercedes’ future vehicles will have Luminar lidar under new deal

Mercedes-Benz said Thursday it plans to use Luminar’s lidar technology in future vehicles as part of a broader deal that includes data sharing and the automaker taking a small stake in the company.

As part of the deal, Mercedes-Benz will acquire up to 1.5 million Luminar shares, in exchange for certain data and services, according to a regulatory filing. Shares of Luminar popped on the news and are now trading more than 17.7% higher.

Luminar’s agreement with Daimler North America Corporation will involve developing and integrating its technology on its next-generation series production passenger vehicles as well as other defined activities, the filing said. Daimler will share certain data from development and production vehicles with Luminar’s lidars to be used for continuous product improvement and updates.

In exchange, Luminar agreed to issue 1.5 million shares of its Class A common stock to Daimler.

Luminar founder and CEO Austin Russell called the partnership “a landmark moment” in the industry that “will demonstrate how substantially increased safety and autonomous driving functions on consumer vehicles are going from sci-fi to mainstream.”

The companies declined to share information about when Luminar lidar would be integrated into Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

Luminar also has a partnership with Volvo Cars to integrate the lidar company’s hardware and software and a proprietary perception system will be standard in the automaker’s forthcoming flagship electric SUV.

This is separate from another agreement to develop Luminar’s Iris lidar technology with plans to bring it into series production vehicles by Daimler, in which the company receives non-recurring engineering service fees for certain defined work.

In October 2020, Daimler’s trucks division said it invested in Luminar as part of a broader partnership to produce autonomous trucks capable of navigating highways without a human driver behind the wheel. The investment was undisclosed.