Mercedes-Benz, the consumer brand of Daimler, has acquired a stake in lidar sensor vendor Luminar Technologies Inc.
Due to the chip shortage that has impacted the supply chain since late 2020, automotive OEMs have been slowly looking to secure their own supply of semiconductors. The automotive market was hit particularly hard due to the switching of capacity in foundries during COVID-19.
Late last year, BMW Group signed a direct supply agreement with GlobalFoundries to build automotive chips. The deal will allow BMW to receive a supply of several million microchips a year. The move followed a similar deal with GlobalFoundries with Ford Motor Company where the foundry would develop chips for advanced driver assistant systems (ADAS), battery management systems and in-vehicle networking.
The new deal with Mercedes-Benz and Luminar will see lidar technology integrated into series production of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The agreement will shorten development cycles and ensure that its vehicles have the most up-to-date technologies.
Mercedes-Benz said that partnerships will help to increase development for automated driving and cooperation is part of the company’s strategy.
Because the supply chain is still impacting the semiconductor industry, it is highly likely automotive OEMS will continue to make direct deals with suppliers rather than working with foundries or other outlets to get the chips they need for current and future vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz is said to be acquiring about 1.5 million shares of Luminar, which would be about $20.2 million worth in shares, or less than 1% of the company.