Apr 22, 2021

Lidar leader Luminar recruits Tesla and Intel veterans

autonomousvehicles
LiDAR
Automotive
selfdriving
William Smith
2 min
Tesla's Alan Prescott and Intel's Trey Campbell joined the autonomous vehicle lidar provider Luminar in its legal and investor departments respectively
Tesla's Alan Prescott and Intel's Trey Campbell joined the autonomous vehicle lidar provider Luminar in its legal and investor departments respectively...

 Luminar, a Palo Alto, California-based developer of lidar sensors and software for use with autonomous vehicles, has announced the recruitment of two veterans from Tesla and Intel respectively.

Intel and Tesla veterans

Alan Prescott, who was previously Tesla’s top lawyer in his role as General Counsel, has joined as Luminar’s Chief Legal Officer. Alongside Tesla, he has extensive industry experience at both Uber and Ford Motor Company.

Austin Russell, Founder and CEO of Luminar, said: “He understands the challenges and nuances of operating in both the autonomous driving space and in the automotive industry more broadly, and we look forward to his insights and expertise as we continue to scale our business and accelerate the expansion of our product and commercial roadmaps.”

Also joining to lead Luminar’s Investor Relations is Trey Campbell, previously of tech giant Intel as its Vice President of Investor Relations. Tom Fennimore, Chief Financial Officer at Luminar, said: “Trey’s strong leadership and communication experience as well as long-standing relationships with the financial community will help tremendously as we spearhead the industry, creating shareholder value and taking Luminar to the next level.”

The autonomous vehicle lidar debate

Lidar technology is used in the majority of driverless cars, but Tesla spurns the technology in its own vehicles. In short, the technology is the visual equivalent of radar, measuring distances by shining a laser onto a surface and sensing its reflection. Aside from its use in autonomous vehicles, the technology was first developed for use in processes such as surveying.

Luminar says it partners with seven of the ten largest automotive manufacturers to aid their autonomous driving efforts, and has signed a product deal with Volvo. Last year the company went public via a $3.4bn involving a merger and investment from the likes of Peter Thiel, Volvo and Gores Metropoulos.

(Image: Luminar)

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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

AWS
NASCAR
3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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