Israeli Lidar Company Innoviz Technologies Raises an Additional $170 Million
Venture capital firms continue to pour money into lidar companies, as the laser beam technology is quickly becoming an essential piece of perception hardware for driverless cars and other autonomous applications.
Innoviz Technologies, an Israeli maker of advanced lidar sensors for self-driving cars, said it raised an additional $170 million in a private investment round, bringing the total amount raised to $252 million.
The close of this latest round follows the company's March announcement that it secured an initial $132M in Series C funding.
"We are in the stage of ramping up our production line, which is automotive-grade products and which requires a lot of tooling and building the teams in order to start supporting different customers globally," CEO Omer Keilaf told Reuters on Tuesday at the Ecomotion conference in Tel Aviv.
Lidar is an acronym for "Light Detection And Ranging" and measures the distance and shape of an object by using a pulsed laser beams. Once these laser beams bounce off an object and reflect back, they generate a precise, three-dimensional image of the object, whether it's a vehicle, tree, pedestrian, or the road ahead.
Innoviz, founded in 2016, is a manufacturer of high-performance, low-cost solid-state LiDAR sensors and perception software for autonomous vehicles. The company's MEMs (micro-electric-mechanical systems) LiDAR technology delivers superior sensing capabilities, even in direct sunlight and darkness, making them well-suited for autonomous vehicles.
The company's chief products are the InnovizPro and InnovizOne.
The InnovizPro is a solid-state LiDAR that offers outstanding performance for automotive applications, HD mapping and robotics. It creates a dense 3D point cloud at high frame rate that enables a high level of perception. InnovizPro offers high pixel density that can detect targets 150 meters away.
The InnovizOne is an automotive-grade LiDAR sensor that provides superior 3D sensing for Level 3 and higher autonomous driving and advanced driver assist systems (ADAS). combined with perception software, the LiDAR is an indispensable technology for autonomous vehicles.
Partnership with BMW
In April 2018, Innoviz announced that German automaker BMW selected the company to supply LiDAR for the series production of BMW's autonomous vehicles beginning in 2021. Innoviz is also working with several other Tier 1 suppliers.
BMW said it selected the solid-state InnovizOne for its unique MEMS-based design, as well as for its advanced computer vision capabilities for object detection and classification, which is necessary to support level 3 and above autonomous driving.
The latest funding for Innoviz comes from new investors China Merchants Capital, Shenzhen Capital Group and New Alliance Capital; and Israeli institutional investors Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services and Phoenix Insurance Co.
Keilaf said Innoviz's products will begin shipping lidar to customers in the coming months.
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