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The developer of lidar began to poach executives from Apple, NVIDIA and Tesla

American lidar developer Luminar began to poach executives from Apple, NVIDIA and Tesla to develop technologies for automated driving and autonomous vehicles.

Christopher Moore, director of autonomous systems at Apple and former director of software for Tesla Autopilot, has joined Luminar as vice president of software. Taner Ozcelik, founder of NVIDIA's automotive business, became executive vice president and general manager responsible for, among other things, R&D and Luminar's semiconductor manufacturing subsidiaries. Tesla's Chief Intellectual Property Advisor Chris Luebeck now leads the Intellectual Property Division. Jackie Chen, former president of Harman International, and Jared Jacobs, former chief executive of ZF Group, have joined Luminar as vice presidents of manufacturing operations.

Lidar (an acronym for Light Detection and Range) is a remote sensing technique that can measure the distance of a vehicle from objects and pedestrians. The system uses a laser to send pulses of light and a sensor that measures how long it takes the light to return. Cruise and Waymo are using lidar to create 3D maps around the car. Automakers such as Mercedes are starting to implement these sensors to offer more reliable driver assistance systems in passenger cars.

Critics from Elon Musk

However, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has repeatedly criticized the technology, calling lidars “expensive and unnecessary.” “Lidar is a waste of time. All who rely on lidar are doomed. Expensive sensors are not needed,” he noted. Tesla uses ultrasonic sensors and cameras to support its advanced driver assistance system called "Autopilot" and the so-called "full self-driving" system.

Luminar expects production vehicles to be equipped with the company's lidar within the next year.

Apple hired Ford's Global Director of Safety

Earlier this month, Apple hired Ford's Global Director of Safety Desi Uikaszewicz to join the Apple Car self-driving car team. In September 2021, the electric vehicle project was led by Apple Software CEO Kevin Lynch.

Last year, Ford hired former Apple Special Projects team leader Doug Field. He served as head of the automotive division. Field also left Apple for Tesla to take part in the development and release of the Model 3.

Michael Zippo
[email protected]


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