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Austin Russell

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Austin Russell
Austin Russell 27987044248.jpg Austin_Russell_27987044248.jpg
Austin Russell, Luminar, on the Autotech & Talkrobot stage at Collision 2018.
BornAustin Kingsley Russell
(1995-03-13) March 13, 1995 (age 26)
Newport Beach, California
🏳️ NationalityAmerican
🎓 Alma materStanford (no degree)
💼 Occupation
Engineer, entrepreneur
Luminar Technologies Inc.

Austin Kingsley Russell is an American scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Luminar Technologies Inc. Russell was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2018, and holds over 20 patents related to Lidar technology. [1]

Early Life[edit]

Russell began his career as an inventor at an early age, writing software by age 10 or 11, and applying for his first patent by the time he was 12. In the sixth-grade, Russell programmed the firmware in his Nintendo DS to turn it into a cell phone because his parents wouldn’t buy him one. Using Wi-Fi, he called his parents from the portable game system while riding the bus home from school. By his teen years, Russell built computing systems, supercomputers, ultimately evolving into lasers, optics and photonics. At 15 he built a holographic keyboard to take notes in class and by age 17 filed a patent for it. [2][3][4]

Luminar Foundation and Growth[edit]

Russell's early interest in optics and lasers led to a focus on the use of LiDAR technology for self-driving cars. Luminar Technologies was launched in 2012, when Russell was 16. At the time, he was in high school and also studying at the Beckman Laser Institute at the University of California, Irvine. After graduation from high school, he attended Stanford University for one year, taking courses in applied physics. He dropped out of school in 2013 after receiving a Thiel Fellowship, which gave him the opportunity to devote himself to Luminar full time.[5]

The company spent its first five years in stealth mode, and rather than building a system with off the shelf components, Russell engineered and manufactured all major components of Luminar's LiDAR system from the chip-level up.[6] By the time Luminar was ready to emerge from stealth mode, Russel had brought Luminar to its 7th generation Application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) design and a fully integrated technology stack.[7][8][9]Luminar's system, built from the ground up, delivered delivered 50 times better resolution and 10 times farther range than competing devices.[10]

On December 3, 2020, Luminar Technologies went public, trading on NASDAQ as LAZR.[11]Russell’s 104.7 million shares, about a third of Luminar’s outstanding equity, was worth $2.4 billion at the close of Nasdaq trading on Thursday. According to Forbes Magazine, this makes Russell “the youngest self-made billionaire in the world”.[12]



In 2017 Russell was named an 'Innovator Under 35' by MIT Technology Review. [14]

In 2018, Forbes named Russell to its '30 under 30' list for founding and leading Luminar.[15]

Supplemental Material[edit]

"2017 EmTech Innovator Under 35:Better sensors for safer automated driving".

"The Eyes of Autonomy:Lidar's True Power". YouTube.

External Links[edit]

"Patents assigned to Austin Russell".


  1. Austin Russell. "Results of Search in US Patent Collection db for: IN/Russell-Austin-K". USPTO. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  2. Alex Webb, Lizette Chapman, Alex Barinka (March 30, 2017). "The 22-Year-Old at the Center of the Self-Driving Car Craze". Bloomberg. Retrieved August 8, 2020.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. Catherine Clifford (July 12, 2018). "This 23-year-old founded a company with self-driving car tech that's giving Tesla some competition". CNBC. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  4. Elysse James (June 16, 2013). "2013 top graduate: Austin Russell". Orange County Register. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  5. Megan Rose Dickey (May 9, 2013). "Peter Thiel Is Giving These 20 Teenagers $100,000 To Drop Out Of School And Start A Company". Business Insider. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  6. "Austin Russell". Forbes. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  7. George Gilder (2018). Life after Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781621575764. Retrieved July 17, 2020. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  8. Phillip E. Ross (May 19, 2017). "22-Year-Old Lidar Whiz Claims Breakthrough". IEEE Spectrum. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  9. Jeff Hecht (July 5, 2017). "Under the Hood of Luminar's Long-Reach Lidar". IEEE Spectrum. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  10. Alan Ohnsman (April 13, 2017). "A 22-Year-Old CEO Has A Vision For Making Self-Driving Cars A Reality". Forbes. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  11. https://www.nasdaq.com/market-activity/stocks/lazr
  12. Ohnsman, Alan Sternlichtsher, Alexandra (December 3, 2020). "Meet The World's Newest—And Youngest—Self-Made Billionaire: Luminar's Austin Russell". Forbes. Retrieved January 4, 2021.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. Grossman, Matt (December 3, 2020). "Luminar Rises in Market Debut, Making 25-Year-Old Founder a Billionaire". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  14. Jamie Condliffe (2017). "Pioneers". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  15. Forbes Staff (2018). "30 Under 30 Youngest". Forbes. Retrieved August 8, 2020.

Category:1995 births Category:Living people Category:21st-century American businesspeople Category:American technology chief executives Category:American technology company founders Category:American industrial designers Category:People from Newport Beach, California

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