Luminar, maker of lidar for autonomous driving, lays off 20 percent of its workforce

The company, which just announced shipments of its next-generation laser sensors to Volvo, said that it will transition to an “asset light” business model that will see more of its production outsourced to its partners. As part of the restructuring, at least 147 people will lose their jobs. Luminar has at least 730 employees based in the US, according to LinkedIn.

“Many of these team members have been on our journey with us for years, which is why this is so difficult,” Luminar CEO Austin Russell said in a statement. “We have also made the decision to roll off the majority of our contractors who supported us to [start of production]. We have informed the affected employees regarding the roles that are no longer required at this juncture.”

“Many of these team members have been on our journey with us for years.”

Luminar is one of the companies that rose to prominence as the tech industry promoted self-driving cars as the future of personal transportation. The company makes lidar, a key ingredient in autonomous driving that uses near-infrared light to detect the shapes and distances of objects. This helps autonomous vehicles “see” other objects on the road, like cars, pedestrians, and cyclists, all without the help of GPS or a network connection.

But as autonomous vehicles have lost some of their luster, Luminar and other supportive players have fallen on hard times. The company reported a net loss of $571.3 million for 2023, up from $445.9 million in 2022. It also brought in $69.7 million in revenue, up from $40.7 million the previous year. Luminar plans to report its first quarter earnings next week.

The restructuring is expected to net the company $400 million in savings over the next five years, Russell said, including $80 million in savings “on an annual run basis.”


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