Luminar Technologies, a leading lidar (light detection and ranging) manufacturer, has launched its new factory in Monterrey, Mexico, ahead of schedule. The factory is capable of producing up to 500,000 Iris sensors annually, which will be used in the upcoming EX90 electric crossover from Swedish automaker Volvo. Luminar’s new facility is owned by Celestica, which operates another low-volume production facility for Luminar in Monterrey.
Factory Features Clean Room Space and 200,000-Square-Foot Extension
The Monterrey factory covers an area of 118,000 square feet, with 40,000 square feet of clean room space that meets International Organization for Standardization specifications. Luminar owns the factory’s equipment and automated line. A new construction project will extend the factory by another 200,000 square feet, adding more production space to manufacture millions of sensors annually. The additional space will also allow Luminar to conduct performance and quality tests on its lidars.
Increased Production Capacity to Meet Growing Requirements on Volume
The successful launch of the automated factory is a significant milestone for Luminar, as it enables an increase in capacity by well over an order of magnitude compared to its existing manual line. The company can now meet growing automaker requirements on volume, said Luminar CEO Austin Russell. The factory’s bring-up is a testament to Luminar’s execution capabilities, he added.
Implications of Lidar Technology for Society
Lidar technology has significant implications for society, particularly in the area of autonomous vehicles. Lidar sensors allow self-driving cars to “see” and interpret their surroundings in real-time, making them safer and more efficient. However, the widespread adoption of lidar technology will require significant infrastructure investments, regulatory changes, and public acceptance.
Looking Ahead: Luminar’s Expansion Plans in Asia
Luminar is expected to provide investors with an update on its Asian manufacturing facility, the location of which is unknown, during its first-quarter earnings call on May 9. The expansion into Asia is part of Luminar’s efforts to increase its global manufacturing capacity and meet growing demand for lidar technology.