Israeli company Innoviz Technologies, which provides advanced laser-based sensor solutions (LiDAR), today announced that auto manufacturer BMW had selected its InnovizOne LiDAR sensor for installation in its autonomous and semi-autonomous series of vehicles starting in 2021. These vehicles will have autonomous driving capabilities from Level 3 (driving without hands on the wheel for short periods in restricted lanes) to Level 5 (completely autonomous driving).
Innoviz's advanced sensor solution facilitates advanced scanning capability that generates highly accurate 3D mapping of the vehicle's surroundings, and allows it to operate effectively in difficult weather conditions, while substantially lowering the cost. The finished integrated product will be installed in BMW vehicles by Magna, one of the world's leading auto industry suppliers and a leading investor in Innoviz.
According to Innoviz's announcement, BMW tested various LiDAR solutions on the market and finally selected Innoviz following a long and careful testing process, after the company's solution had met the high safety, reliability, and technological performance standards that BMW was looking for. Innoviz was also selected because it was capable of also providing a deep learning-based algorithmic envelope that analyzes the surroundings and detects the objects, obstacles, and travel routes. The comprehensive and multi-layer solution combines a sensor, a hardware system, software, and a decoding layer.
The announcement is unusual, because auto manufacturers do not usually publish their contracts with suppliers of individual components. Assuming that most BMW serial vehicles will be equipped with Level 3 semiautomatic driving systems or higher within five years, Innoviz will supply the auto manufacturer with tens or hundreds of thousands of units annually at a price of several hundred dollars per unit.
Innoviz founder and CEO Omer Keilaf said, "BMW, one of the pillars of the auto industry, sets clear safety, reliability, and performance level guidelines for the entire industry in autonomous vehicles. The selection of Innoviz is an unmistakable vote of confidence in our technological capability, and highlights the power and reliability of the technological solution that we are able to provide. The selection of Innoviz is the result of hard work by our team, which over the past year made a supreme effort to comply with the requirements made by BMW and meet the stringent performance and safety guidelines set by BMW. We are proud to cooperate with BMW, which has become such an important player in the market."
Innoviz was founded in 2016 with the help of a group of investors that included Zohar Zisapel, Gil Agmon, Delek Motors CEO Gil Agmon, and others who had also taken part in the seed round of Argus Cyber Security, sold last year for $400 million. Innoviz has raised $82 million to date, with the company's most recent financing round including Softbank Ventures, Samsung, tier-1 companies Magna and Delphi, and a number of funds. Other investors in the company include Israeli auto import companies, among them Delek Motors and Allied. As recently revealed by "Globes," the most recent financing round was at a company value of $250 million. Industry sources predict, however, that Innoviz's next round will be at a significantly higher valuation, possibly as much as $1 billion, on the basis of other LiDAR companies valued at over $1 billion even though they are at less advanced stages of development and marketing. Innoviz currently employs 150 engineers and other workers, and is recruiting more in deep learning, software development, and machine vision.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 26, 2018
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