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Luminar has introduced a new Automatic Emergency Steering (AES) feature based on its Iris Plus sensor

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The Florida-based company, Luminar, has introduced a new Automatic Emergency Steering (AES) feature based on its Iris Plus sensor. The idea is to use the laser sensor, in conjunction with other vehicle safety systems, to proactively prevent accidents without the driver's intervention.

The company demonstrated the new feature at this week's CES in Las Vegas. The hope is that Luminar's long-range lidar, with a range of up to 984 feet (300 meters) in the right conditions, can detect obstacles and perform driving maneuvers before the driver does.

Doing so safely, for both the driver and other road users, will be crucial in determining the success of Luminar's AES system. Third-party tests, such as those conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Consumer Reports, and AAA, will also determine whether the company's claims can be verified.

Of course, most drivers are not ready for situations where their car makes decisions on their behalf. Car owners often complain about being bombarded with too many notifications. One can imagine how they would react if their car suddenly swerved, for example, to avoid a plastic cup on the road. Luminar will need to ensure that its system is not triggered by false positives.

In other news, the company has announced an extension of its partnership with Mercedes-Benz to integrate its Iris Plus lidar into the official FIA Formula 1 safety car. Luminar is collaborating with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team for the project and has also planned to integrate its sensor into the team's Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series.

"Luminar's lidar's ability to detect stationary and high-speed moving objects in highly variable conditions makes it an excellent solution for the official FIA Formula 1 safety car," the company stated.

Luminar has emerged as one of the most ambitious players in the lidar industry. While its counterparts face internal issues and financial uncertainties, Luminar has secured commitments from various companies to purchase its lidar. In addition to Mercedes-Benz, the company has agreements with Volvo, Audi, Toyota Research Institute, Intel's Mobileye, Airbus, and two Chinese companies: car manufacturer SAIC and AV operator