Luminar to Acquire its Exclusive Lidar Chip Partner

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Luminar Technologies Inc. is acquiring its exclusive InGaAs chip design partner and manufacturer, OptoGration Inc. The acquisition secures a key part of Luminar’s supply chain and enables deeper integration with its existing chip design subsidiary Black Forest Engineering (BFE), which Luminar acquired in 2017.

Luminar is combining the latest technology from OptoGration and BFE to power its new fifth-generation lidar chip in Iris, the company’s lidar sensor, as the company prepares for series production of its product and technology. Luminar combines its InGaAs photodetector chips from OptoGration with silicon ASICs produced by BFE, to create its lidar receiver and processing chip. The chip can acquire and process gigabits of precise data per second to produce optimal lidar data.

In June, it was announced that Volvo Cars’ fully electric flagship SUV, to be revealed in 2022, will come with state-of-the-art sensors, including lidar technology developed by Luminar.

Luminar has collaborated with OptoGration for the last five years on InGaAs photodetector technology that is required for 1550-nm lidar. OptoGration has capacity to produce approximately one million InGaAs chips with Luminar’s design each year at its specialized fabrication facility in Wilmington, Mass., with the opportunity to expand to up to 10 million units per year capacity.

“Acquiring OptoGration is the culmination of a deep, half-decade-long technology partnership that has dramatically advanced the proprietary lidar chips that power the industry-leading performance of our newest Iris sensor,” said Jason Eichenholz, co-founder and CTO at Luminar.

OptoGration’s founders are joining Luminar as part of this transaction and will continue to lead the business with support from Luminar.

The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021. The transaction price was not disclosed.

Published: July 2021
An acronym of light detection and ranging, describing systems that use a light beam in place of conventional microwave beams for atmospheric monitoring, tracking and detection functions. Ladar, an acronym of laser detection and ranging, uses laser light for detection of speed, altitude, direction and range; it is often called laser radar.
1. A generic term for detector. 2. A complete optical/mechanical/electronic system that contains some form of radiation detector.
The adjustable membrane located just in front of the crystalline lens within the eye. The iris gives the eye its color. See also iris diaphragm.
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