23 March 2022
Luminar acquiring Freedom Photonics
Following a multi-year collaboration, automotive technology company Luminar Technologies Inc of Orlando, FL, USA is acquiring Freedom Photonics LLC of Santa Barbara, CA, USA (which was founded in 2005 and manufactures photonic components, modules and subsystems for markets including automotive LiDAR, optical sensing, aerospace, industrial processing and data communications). The acquisition brings fundamental next-generation chip-scale laser technology, intellectual property (IP), and production expertise in-house for Luminar light detection and ranging (LiDAR) systems.
Luminar is vertically integrating across core LiDAR components that aim to enable low costs, supply chain security and improved performance. The transaction follows the acquisition of subsidiaries Black Forest Engineering for custom signal processing chips in 2017 and Optogration Inc in 2021 for receiver chips.
“Component-level innovation and integration is critical to our performance, cost and continued automotive technology leadership,” says Luminar’s co-founder & chief technology officer Jason Eichenholz. “Bringing Freedom Photonics into Luminar enables a new level of economies of scale, deepens our competitive moat and strengthens our future technology roadmap,” he believes. “We’ve worked closely with the Freedom team for the past several years. They have proven to be the best in the world for breakthrough semiconductor laser chip technology, where both power and beam quality are needed simultaneously for true high resolution at long range.”
The Freedom Photonics executive team will continue to lead and expand the business upon close of the transaction, which is expected in second-quarter 2022.
“Joining Luminar is the perfect opportunity for Freedom Photonics, providing us an accelerated path to at-scale commercialization of our world-class diode laser technologies,” believes Freedom Photonics’ co-founder & CEO Milan Mashanovitch. “In addition to helping extend Luminar’s automotive industry leadership, we will continue to serve and grow our broad customer base across other key markets.”