Luminar "Blade", a vehicle architecture designed for Autonomy.
More than a concept, Luminar's 'Blade' is a physical architecture for vehicle safety and autonomy technology. It is a guideline for automotive designers to incorporate the latest sensor technology at its optimal placement, surrounding the vehicle roof-line, rather than follow traditional practices of placement in the grill or quarter-panel areas.
The need for an unobstructed line-of-sight ahead and around of the vehicle, plus the fusion of few sensory technologies (LiDar, Camera, RaDar and more) requires a new thinking for the structure and location of the vehicle top section. Luminar Technologies, a leading vehicle sensor hardware and software company, is on a mission to make vehicle autonomy safe and ubiquitous and therefore invests in promoting Automotive design that is conducive to autonomy.
Luminar unveiled two vehicle roof-line blueprints of "Blade"- one is a Truck enclosure, offered for immediate application. The other is robo-taxi concept, not slated for production.
The existing stigma behind LIDAR technology is its obnoxious hardware on the vehicle. From rotating cylinders to roof-rack additions adding as much as 18 inches to a vehicles height, these solutions make it difficult for the automotive industry to take LIDAR seriously as a viable solution in a commercial setting.
When it comes to automotive, harmony of form, function and technology is a paramount ideal for consumers and car makers. Blade is a first-ever concept and a powerful design expression of autonomous technology seamlessly integrated into cars, trucks, and robo-taxis. It creates a foundation for a new vehicle architecture that automakers can incorporate into vehicle development programs from the onset.
Many technology companies under-appreciate the importance of design in envisioning fundamental technology architecture, especially when it comes to automotive. The Blade concept acted as a distinct and premium manifestation of Luminar's industry leading technology, opposing the existing stigma associated with LIDAR hardware by glorifying the technology as a centerpiece of the vehicle.
The Luminar "Blade" concept visually represented an opportunity for OEM's to introduce the next generation of safety technology into their future vehicle models. These safety features are implemented in the proper location on commercial and consumer vehicles to ultimately create the uncrashable vehicle.
The idea of behind highlighting the "Blade" technology on the vehicles was twofold – to call out the premium quality of the technology located on the top of the vehicle and to instill a sense of pride and safety assurance in the vehicle owner.
The new Blade designs give Luminar partners a reference for incorporating Luminar's technology into their vehicles and demonstrates the company's commitment to not only delivering leading-edge technology but also beautiful design integration. The concepts – consisting of a robo-taxi and a truck, where also chosen to prove that LIDAR technology was capable of safely navigating the most difficult driving conditions. This work supported Luminar in making the transition from the leader in LIDAR to the leader in automotive autonomy and safety.
Luminar's Blade Robo-taxi design imagines a sleek, roomy, and inspiring car design for autonomous operation on highways and urban environments. Strategically located where it has the best performance, the golden 'Blade' runs across the crown of the vehicle, incorporating 4 Luminar LIDAR's for 360-degree coverage. The concept was designed to be used for consumers as well as ridesharing operations as lines between applications blur.
Luminar's Blade trucking design has imagined and executed on a compact and seamless autonomous design integration with three-LIDAR sensors for long-range data collection in all directions. To support Luminar's business model, the blade is designed to be capable of being retrofit onto existing class 8 trucks.
Since the announcement of the blade concept, Luminar has formed a partnership with Volvo and Mercedes, who will each be incorporate the technology into their upcoming vehicle lines, where the LIDAR will be placed on the top of the vehicle.