Seeing Around Corners

Jason Eichenholz, Co-Founder & CTO, Luminar joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss optoelectronics, lasers and seeing around corners.

The conversation begins with Jason telling the story of how he first became interested in imaging systems and optoelectronics during a physics demonstration he witnessed in high school.

I vividly remember the day that I saw that laser beam going across. And I was like OK, I want to do this and learn everything I can about lasers and optics and imaging and the things we could do. I thought there were all sorts of applications. Little did I know that [this event] would shape the direction of my career, that I would be using lasers to make autonomous vehicles safely operate on highways.

– Jason Eichenholz

Fast forward from high school to a career and Jason is following his lifelong passion by commercializing optics and photonics as Co-Founder & CTO of Luminar.

From Day 1, we wanted the technology to be deployable, scalable, and we never sacrificed on the technology-based upon what was available. We made the technology work to enable the application.

– Jason Eichenholz

Luminar has a commercial partnership with Volvo where Luminar LiDAR will be standard on Volvo’s to be announced all-new electric SUV and an upcoming autonomous driving subscription called Ride Pilot. This partnership validates Luminar’s technology and looks to usher in the future of transportation.

I look at the automotive industry and I look at the ability to bring technology and innovation forward. The overall industry is going through a transformation. I think it is the single largest transformation to transportation since the Model T.

– Jason Eichenholz

At CES 2022, Luminar demonstrated its Proactive Safety system to great success. The system was able to detect a safety dummy crossing the road and came to a complete stop. In the other lane, a vehicle that was not equipped with the Proactive Safety system ran over the safety dummy. Grayson and Jason go on to discuss the system as to how it was able to detect the safety dummy.

Proactive Safety is about preventing accidents, not mitigating or minimizing them. It’s about preventing them.

– Jason Eichenholz

For the last 25 years, Jason has served as a volunteer firefighter in Orange County, Florida. During his service, he has seen sights and heard sounds that stop and make you realize how truly dangerous the roads of America can be at any time of the day. Continuing the safety conversation, Jason discusses the safety benefits of LiDAR and how Luminar tests for edge cases in all conditions.

Wrapping up the conversation, Jason shares a personal story about why autonomous vehicles are so important for society and what he is doing to enable the future of autonomy.

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Recorded on Tuesday, January 11, 2022.