- Velodyne and Luminar, two companies that make lidar sensors, extended their two-day surges to more than 30% following a Reuters report that Apple is building its own electric car.
- Lidar sensors are a key component for self-driving cars, as they allow the car to see a 3D image of their surroundings and navigate the environment accordingly.
- Though Velodyne and Luminar have not been named, Apple is using outside partners for its self-driving system that is under development, including lidar sensors, according to the report.
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Velodyne Lidar and Luminar Technologies have both surged as much as 37% since a report from Reuters on Monday detailed Apple’s ambition to compete with Tesla and sell an electric vehicle by 2024.
Velodyne and Luminar both produce lidar sensors, which continuously scan a 3D image of near-by surroundings, enabling self-driving cars to navigate their surrounding environment accordingly. Essentially, lidar sensors are the “eyes” for self-driving cars being developed by self-driving car companies like Waymo and Cruise.
Luminar jumped as much as 10% on Tuesday, while Velodyne surged 14% at intraday highs. Both companies went public via SPAC earlier this year and are not yet profitable.
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Apple is tapping outside partners for components of its car, including lidar sensors, the report said, adding that a car developed by Apple could feature multiple lidar sensors for scanning different distances.
The consumer-tech giant is familiar with developing Lidar sensors in-house. The company’s recent iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro models contain lidar sensors for the first time ever. But for now, it seems Apple will rely on outside vendors for lidar sensors, driving investors to bid up potential lidar suppliers like Velodyne and Luminar.
One self-driving car company that does not rely on lidar sensor technology is Tesla. Instead, Tesla cars rely on a suite of external cameras and artificial intelligence to navigate the roads with little human input.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has derided lidar technology, saying at its first autonomy day event in 2019, “Lidar is a fool’s errand…and anyone relying on lidar is doomed. Doomed! [They’re] expensive sensors that are unnecessary.”
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