U.S. lidar maker Luminar partners with Airbus to test autonomous flight tech

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Airbus logo at the entrance of the Airbus facility in Bouguenais

(Reuters) - Luminar Technologies Inc said on Monday it would partner with Airbus SE to test technologies which could increase aircraft safety and ultimately enable an autonomous flight with obstacle detection.

The two companies will work on enhancing aircraft sensing and perception, Luminar said, adding that its technology could also substantially improve the safety of existing aircraft applications.

"Partnering with Luminar...will help us define and explore the next step towards more autonomous flight vehicles," said Sandra Schaeffer, chief of Airbus UpNext, the planemaker's future technologies division.

California-based Luminar makes lidar sensors, which use laser light to detect objects ahead of and around the vehicle, and are a key component of many self-driving systems being developed by automakers.

"We're able to directly re-apply what we've accomplished for the automotive industry into aviation," said Luminar Chief Executive Austin Russell.

In March, Luminar announced a deal with the self-driving software subsidiary of Volvo Cars to offer a combination hardware-software system to other automakers.

Luminar went public through a merger with Gores Metropoulos Inc, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), and began trading in December.

(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)