Innoviz, an Israel-based developer of solid-state LiDAR sensors and perception software, has announced the closure of its series C funding round with over $170 million, bringing its total raised to $252 million — which is more (by $38 million) than the $132 million round total it reported in March. Cofounder and CEO Omer Keilaf said in a statement that the fresh capital will benefit the company’s broader business activities, support the enhancement of its perception software, and accelerate mass production and commercialization.
Proceeds of the raising will be used to improve the tech startup’s perception software that helps its solid-state laser sensors better understand and interpret surroundings, the company said.
“In a short amount of time we have successfully created an industry-leading LiDAR solution from the ground up and secured partner and customer wins to push it into series production for one of the top automakers in the world,” Keilaf said in a statement.
Innoviz’s automotive-grade LiDAR product called InnovizOne is entering series production in 2021 for global automakers. Founded in 2016 and based in Israeli central town Rosh Ha’ayin, Innoviz develops low-cost, small-size LiDAR systems designed to enable the mass commercialization of autonomous vehicles.
The InnovizOne, a LiDAR sensor designed to slot into the front of a vehicle can see surrounds in 3D up to 250 meters ahead.
In addition to supplying LiDAR sensors to help self-driving cars navigate through the world, Innoviz also wants to offer its technology for use in mapping, robots and drones. The technology’s ability to generate detailed, ghostly 3D point-cloud maps of a moving car’s surroundings in all lighting conditions, working in tandem with cameras and radar, gives self-driving cars awareness of road conditions is superhuman.
To Elon Musk however, the LiDAR sensors are “expensive sensors that are unnecessary,” he told investors and analysts attending Tesla’s April 21 “Autonomy Day.” “It’s like having a whole bunch of expensive appendices. One appendix is bad, now we’ll put on a whole bunch of them. That’s ridiculous. You’ll see.”
The LiDAR market is projected to be worth $1.8 billion in just five years and is an overcrowded field. Innoviz has two spotlight LiDAR products: the InnovizPro, a solid-state LiDAR with a 150-meter range and 20-frames-per-second framerate, and InnovizOne, an “automotive-grade” aftermarket, long-range development kit with a 250-meter range, ultra-wide field of view (120 degrees), and a 25-frames-per-second framerate.
Innoviz is also developing software with the goal of crafting an end-to-end sensing platform for original equipment manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers, a go-to-market strategy that’s snagged it customers like Harman, HiRain Technologies, and Aptiv. BMW recently selected Innoviz’s computer vision software for a series of production cars starting in 2021, and the company says it’s actively working with additional partners — including auto industry suppliers Delphi and Magna — while pursuing new customers in the automotive space.
Hiring of Dr. Raja Giryes and Or Shimshi, who will serve as strategic collaborators to the product and software team was also announced by Innoviz. Giryes, a senior academic and researcher, holds a doctorate in computer science, while Shimshi has managed teams and held advisory roles for computer vision, deep learning, machine learning, and AI with companies like Samsung, Intel, Qualcomm, and Citibank.
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