A automobile with Luminar’s lidar sensor shows off its safety program throughout CES in Las Vegas in January 2022.

AFP by way of Getty Pictures

(Update: Luminar mentioned it removed and replaced the image of the chip on Friday afternoon.)

Luminar, a major maker of laser lidar for self-driving and semi-autonomous autos, has been accused of passing off a rival’s subsequent-generation chip style as its personal technologies immediately after displaying an image of the processor at a current investor conference and in components on its web-site. Leadwave, the Israeli startup that filed the lawsuit, says it plans to take legal action more than the matter.

The image, which Luminar identified as a photonic integrated circuit at its Feb. 28 conference and webcast with out reference to Leadwave, seems identical to the chip on Leadwave’s web-site that is its underlying technologies. The Jerusalem-primarily based enterprise sent Luminar a cease and desist letter on March 14, asking it to get rid of the image. It also informed the Securities and Exchange Commission that Luminar was “misusing its solution image to falsely market its capabilities and securities to investors.”

Leadwave mentioned it had not heard back from the enterprise as of three p.m. New York time Friday. The SEC did not quickly respond to a request for comment on the matter.

An image of the integrated photonic chip, bottom proper, which seems in a current Luminara investor presentation, seems to be identical to a chip produced by smaller sized rival Lidwave.


“Integrated photonics enables lidar to turn out to be as scalable and lucrative as any one imagined… But surprisingly, the image that Luminar presented of a photonic integrated circuit as their answer is not their answer, but essentially the precise image of our lidar,” Lidwave CEO Yehuda Vidal mentioned Forbes. “We will continue with the lawsuit if important simply because it is a large dilemma for us.” Some of our prospects are pretty confused about what we do versus what they do.”

Leadwave’s integrated photonics chip.


The image appeared throughout a presentation by Mike McCauliffe, head of Luminar’s semiconductor group. The complete Luminar Day webcast on YouTube has almost 750,000 views.

“We have removed and replaced that image with an image of Luminar Semiconductor’s new photonic integrated circuit,” enterprise spokesman Milin Mehta mentioned. Forbes. “It was irrelevant to the presentation.”

Lidar’s capability to build detailed, 3D maps of a vehicle’s surroundings working with lasers has produced it a core technologies in the race to excellent self-driving vehicles and trucks. But it really is also somewhat pricey, with person units costing thousands of dollars each and every. Luminar, which has important provide contracts with automakers which includes Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Nissan, Polestar, China’s SAIC and truck maker Daimler, is poised to be the most significant supplier of the technologies by considerably cutting charges in the coming years.

More than the previous 5 years, Orlando-primarily based Luminar, produced by optical prodigy (i Forbes 30 Beneath 30) alum Austin Russell has gone from 1 of dozens of lidar startups vying to challenge Velodine, the initially enterprise to commercialize technologies for autonomous autos, to the de facto market leader in terms of the quantity of autos that will use its sensors. Russell mentioned Forbes final month that it intends to have Luminar lidar in “millions of autos on the road inside a handful of years.”

Mike McCauliffe, head of Luminar’s semiconductor group, discusses the company’s chip tactic throughout a Feb. 28 investor conference contact.

Luminar by way of YouTube

Processing the substantial quantity of information collected by laser sensors calls for increasingly potent chips that need to also be less expensive and less complicated to manufacture. Lidwave’s Vidal mentioned that is precisely what his enterprise, founded in 2019 and hoping to commence industrial deliveries in 2024, is functioning on perfecting.

“The primary dilemma stopping the widespread adoption of lidar is its expense, which is the outcome of really complicated micro-precision assembly. Nowadays, there is no lidar manufacturer that has ultimately solved the challenge of economies of scale (of production),” he mentioned. “The integrated photonic chip platform is essentially the Holy Grail for lidar.”

Shares of Luminar fell about 1% to $eight.48 in Nasdaq trading on Friday.

By Editor