HRL Laboratories (formerly Hughes Research Laboratories) is a research center in Malibu, California, established in 1960. Formerly the research arm of Hughes Aircraft, HRL is currently owned by General Motors Corporation and Boeing. The research facility is housed in two large, white multi-story buildings overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
In 1984 the U.S. Federal Courts declared in a court case that the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, in order to retain its non-profit status, must divest itself of Hughes Aircraft Company and subsidiaries.
In 1959 construction started on the headquarters located on a Malibu hilltop overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The modernist white and glass building was designed by Los Angeles architect Ernest Lee. The headquarters was built by the Del E. Webb Construction Company, who built several facilities for Hughes. The laboratory opened in 1960. In 1970 the Webb Construction Company built the second building. General Motors purchased Hughes Aircraft in 1985.
GM sold the Hughes aerospace and defense operations to Raytheon in 1997, and spun off Hughes Research Laboratories (legally renamed "HRL Laboratories, LLC"), with GM and Raytheon as co-owners. GM sold the Hughes satellite operations to Boeing in 2000, and the co-owners became Boeing, GM, and Raytheon. In 2007, Raytheon decided to sell its stake, though it still maintains research and contractual relations with HRL. For more details, please see Hughes Aircraft. HRL receives funding from its LLC partners, US government contracts, and other commercial customers.
HRL focuses on advanced developments in microelectronics, information & systems sciences, materials, sensors, and photonics; their workspace spans from basic research to product delivery. It has particularly emphasized capabilities in high performance integrated circuits, high power lasers, antennas, networking, and smart materials.
Despite downsizing during the aerospace industry's contraction of the 1990s, HRL still continued to be the largest employer in Malibu.