Luminar Technologies (LAZR) spared no effort in dazzling attendees at its Studio Day last week. With a full production crew, dozens of employees, a pair of demo vehicles (one boasting a rival’s offering) and a live segment being shot for CNBC, Berenberg analyst Michael Filatov was impressed with the promotional effort. However, as with anything, the glossy surface needs to be backed by substance and Filatov came away unsure Luminar had fully delivered the goods.
Along with the debut of Blade, the lidar maker’s self-driving sensor architecture designed for robotaxis and autonomous trucks, Luminar showcased the first consumer vehicle with its Iris lidar fully integrated. The system remains on track to enter full production with Luminar’s OEM collaborators by late 2022.
The demo amounted to a comparison display between Luminar’s Iris lidar and rival Velodyne’s original spinning lidar with 64 channels (HDL-64E) and the more recent 16-channel Puck lidar. The performance difference, particularly regarding range, was “significant.”
That said, the demo also brought to the fore a concern the analyst was already aware of.
At the start, the guests were presented with a “very hi-res visual” using the Iris at a low frame rate (1Hz) that was akin to viewing in slow-motion. But the space between lines and the resolution changed considerably when the frame rate was boosted to 10Hz (an OEM minimum requirement).
“This raises the question as to how significant the fall-off would be in terms of resolution at a higher frame rate,” Filatov said. “In the demonstrations we have seen from Innoviz and Aeye the lidars appear to produce more lines and greater resolution at higher frame rates (though these were not in person demos). As the Luminar team pointed out, some lidar makers will show a very high-resolution video that uses editing to hide the fact that the frame rate is extremely low.”
Filatov’s takeaway for investors, then, is to be “vigilant about the videos and demos they’re given.”
Overall, there is no change to Filatov’s assessment of Luminar. The analyst rates LAZR a Hold, and his $15.50 price target implies ~21% downside from current levels. (To watch Filatov’s track record, click here)
Filatov’s colleagues have a more upbeat outlook. Going by the $26.43 average price target, shares are anticipated to add ~9% in the coming months. Currently the analyst consensus rates the stock a Moderate Buy, based on 3 Buys and 4 Holds. (See LAZR stock analysis on TipRanks)
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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Source: TipRanks Blog
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