GM's Lidar Supplier Cepton Technologies Completes its Previously Announced SPAC Merger, is a Nasdaq-listed Company

GM's Lidar Supplier Cepton Technologies Completes its Previously Announced SPAC Merger, is a Nasdaq-listed Company

Author: Eric Walz   

Cepton Technologies, Inc. ("Cepton"), a Silicon Valley-based developer of high-performance lidar solutions, announced the completion of its previously announced business combination with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Growth Capital Acquisition Corp. ("GCAC"). 

The combined company has been renamed Cepton, Inc. and its common stock and warrants are expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq under the new ticker symbols "CPTN" and "CPTNW", respectively, on Feb 11, 2022. 

The business combination was approved at a special meeting of GCAC's stockholders on Feb 9.

The combined new company will continue to be led by Cepton CEO and Co-founder, Dr. Jun Pei, alongside the rest of the current Cepton management team. George Syllantavos, co-CEO of GCAC, will serve as a director of Cepton. 

Cepton develops lidar-based solutions for automotive applications, smart cities and smart industrial applications. The company is supplying its lidar sensors to automaker General Motors. 

Cepton also manufactures small, solid-state LIDAR sensors that can be embedded inside automotive lighting assemblies, allowing automakers a solution for maintaining vehicle aesthetics, as the sensors can be concealed in headlight assemblies or brake light housings.

Just four of these compact lidar sensors can provide 360 degrees of coverage for advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) or autonomous driving systems.

Cepton is also recognized for its patented Micro Motion Technology ("MMT"), which achieves a low cost and balanced approach to performance and reliability.

In January, Cepton was named a CES 2022 Innovation Awards Honoree in the Vehicle Intelligence & Transportation category for its Nova lidar, a compact wide field of view lidar sensor for near-range applications. The Nova lidar is designed for mass production and is well suited for automotive ADAS and autonomous vehicles.

"Today is a special milestone for Cepton," said Cepton Co-Founder and CEO Dr. Jun Pei. "We founded Cepton with the goal of enabling safe and autonomous transportation for everyone, and today's announcement is another step in making that vision a reality. As a public company we remain focused on the goals of mass-market lidar adoption in consumer vehicles and expanding our market leadership position, while driving value for all of Cepton's stakeholders."

What is lidar and why is it so important to automakers?

The term "lidar" is an acronym for "light detection and ranging." Lidar sensors work by sending pulses of laser light and measuring the time it takes to reflect back off objects. The laser beams that are reflected back are then used to create a 3D rendering of the environment around a vehicle, including identifying pedestrians, other vehicles and infrastructure.

As advanced driver assist systems and Level-2 autonomous driving technology become standard on many new vehicles, there is a growing demand for lidar technology from automakers for level-2 and higher autonomous driving systems. Automakers like GM are turning to lidar developers including Cepton, Luminar and Velodyne to supply low-cost automotive-grade lidar sensors at scale that can be installed in a vehicle during production. All three lidar companies have now entered into SPAC mergers in order to launch their IPOs and raise capital from investors on Wall Street.

The images produced by lidar sensors act as the "eyes" of a self-driving vehicle. For automotive applications, lidar is combined with cameras, radar and perception software. It's also a vital sensor to support new safety features such as automotive emergency braking (AEB) and automated cruise control, which are offered in many new vehicles today.

"We are thrilled with the successful completion of this business combination," said George Syllantavos, co-CEO of GCAC. "Cepton is a company at the forefront of technological advancements with the largest known ADAS lidar series production award in the industry and ongoing engagements with all of the Top 10 global OEMs." 


Lidar acts as the eyes of a self-drving vehicle. (Photo: Velodyne Lidar)

Cepton's major lidar supply deal with General Motors

Cepton was recently awarded the largest known lidar series production supply deal in the industry to date to support General Motors' new "Ultra Cruise" hands-free automatic driver assist technology. The system features full 360-degree perception around the vehicle and will be supported by lidar sensors supplied by Cepton. 

At launch, GM's Ultra Cruise will cover more than 2 million miles of roads in the U.S. and Canada, with the capacity to grow up to more than 3.4 million miles. Customers will be able to travel truly hands free with Ultra Cruise across nearly every road including city streets, subdivision streets and paved rural roads, in addition to highways.

Cepton was founded in 2016 and is focused on the mass market commercialization of high performance, high quality lidar. The company is using 905 nm edge-emitting lasers supplied by German photonics company OSRAM, which combine high optical output power with low-power requirements.

Cepton is headquartered in San Jose, CA and has a center of excellence facility in Troy, MI to provide local support to the OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers located in the Detroit area. Cepton also has a presence in Germany, Canada, Japan, India and China. 

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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