Meet the Innovators Under 35

Austin Russell, Luminar

2017 Innovator Under 35: Better sensors for safer automated driving

Austin Russell, Founder and CEO, Luminar

Austin is an applied physicist and founder and CEO of Luminar. He founded the company in 2012 with a vision to develop a new type of lidar for the autonomous-vehicle industry. Five years, 170 people, and $36 million in funding later, the company has emerged with a new kind of system designed to make autonomous vehicles both safe and scalable. Before founding Luminar, he worked on several photonics projects, some of which involved building custom 3-D mapping sensors. Austin started independent research at the Beckman Laser Institute at age 16, after which he briefly attended Stanford in the applied physics department. He subsequently accepted a Thiel Fellowship to focus full time on Luminar.

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Innovators Under 35
individuals whose superb technical work promises to shape the coming decades through the development of new technology or the creative application of existing technologies to solve problems.