Many autonomous vehicles use LiDAR sensors to “see” their environment. The problem, for a long time, was that the LiDAR sensors available for the task were too large, heavy, and expensive to use in a mass-produced vehicle. Over the past few years, that has started to change. A number of new LiDAR companies are debuting with small, light, and inexpensive solid-state LiDAR sensors intended for use in consumer autonomous vehicles.
The latest company to “emerge from stealth mode” with a new solid-state LiDAR is Innoviz Technologies Ltd. The Israeli firm has just received $9 million in Series A funding from investors including Zohar Zisapel, Vertex Venture Capital, Magma Venture Partners, Amiti Ventures, and Delek Motors.
Innoviz’s LiDAR will cost $100 at scale and boasts a range of over 200 meters. TechCrunch is reporting that it could be smaller than 5 cm x 5 cm x 5 cm.
When I contacted CEO and founder Omer Keilaf for more details, he declined to offer specifications, noting instead that “the resolution will be as good as any high-end LiDAR sold today, including all mechanical lidars. The field of view is better than any existing or announced solid state lidar.”
Innoviz has not described its core technology, except to say that the approach they took to develop solid-state LiDAR is different from Quanergy‘s or MIT‘s. The company’s business model is also noteworthy because it is treating the hardware as the first part in a full-stack solution rather than a standalone product. After developing a working demo of their sensor hardware, Keilaf told SPAR, the team of engineers set to developing software products that exploit the 3D data gathered by the sensor.
“It seems very clear to us that building smart layers above the lidar, while being able to control any part of the lidar within the system, will provide a much stronger product,” Keilaf said. “We are a team of very multidisciplinary engineers, meaning that whatever we do together as a system, we can manage to do better.”
Innoviz told TechCrunch that it is planning to have a product ready for mass production by mid-2018.