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Why Luminar Technologies Shares Are Jumping This Week

By Howard Smith – Nov 12, 2021 at 11:00AM

Key Points

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Semiconductor leader Nvidia has picked Luminar to work with its autonomous vehicle computing platform.

What happened

It's been a busy week for automotive lidar sensor maker Luminar Technologies (LAZR -0.26%). First the company announced a big win for potential future business, and then yesterday it provided investors with its third-quarter business and financial update. All the activity brought investors into the stock, with gains of about 17.5% for the week as of mid-morning Friday, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

So what

Semiconductor pioneer Nvidia (NVDA -2.81%) held its virtual GPU Technology Conference (GTC) this week, and good news for Luminar was announced there on Monday. Luminar's lidar vehicle navigation solution will supply Nvidia's autonomous vehicle development platform. Investors immediately bid up Luminar shares on the news. Though the stock gave some of those gains back, they again moved up after Luminar provided its third-quarter report. 

Vehicle interior showing autonomous driving computing symbols.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Austin Russell, Luminar founder and CEO, summed up the quarter nicely with the following statement: "This quarter was one to remember with the debut of our Proactive Safety software, new top vehicle integration partnerships, two trucking wins, closing the acquisition of a key supplier, world-class leadership additions, and the culmination of our platform win with NVIDIA."

The company also said it believes it will end its fiscal year successfully achieving its goal to grow its forward-looking order book by at least 60% year over year. The company held its previous guidance for full-year revenue of $30 million to $33 million, and said it will end the year with a higher cash balance than at the end of 2020. 

But most investors were seemingly focused on the Nvidia business for autonomous vehicle development. Luminar will provide its suite of sensor solutions to work with Nvidia's computing and artificial intelligence (AI) software. The business fits with Luminar's focus on transportation, rather than other lidar uses that some of its competitors are diversified into. 

Nvidia's DRIVE Hyperion platform with Luminar's sensors will begin production in 2024. The sensor suite will allow for 360-degree views and will have computer power to record and replay data. This week's news was welcome to investors in Luminar and give it a good foundation to monitor going forward as the autonomous vehicle sector continues to develop. 

Howard Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Nvidia. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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