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Volvo plans cars with lidar and “eyes off” highway driving by 2022

Enlarge / A Volvo roofline with integrated Luminar lidar sensor. (credit: Volvo)

Volvo will begin producing vehicles with powerful lidar sensors from lidar startup Luminar, the Swedish company announced on Wednesday. It’s a significant milestone for the automotive industry as well as a major coup for Luminar. Volvo invested in Luminar in 2018.

Lidar sensors will be available starting in 2022 as part of the SPA 2 architecture—the successor to the SPA 1 architecture that underlies many of Volvo’s cars today. While Volvo hasn’t announced specific model information, this likely means that the lidar will be available on vehicles like the XC-90 starting with the 2023 model year.

While some leading high-end lidars spin 360 degrees, Luminar’s sensors are fixed in place with a 120-degree horizontal field of view. Volvo plans to integrate Luminar’s lidar into the car’s roof just above the windshield, where it will have a good view of the road ahead of the vehicle.

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