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VW signs $US4b lidar deal with Innoviz Technologies

Autonomous driving technology to advance significantly across multiple Volkswagen brands

5 Aug 2022

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP’S Cariad unit has signed a deal worth an estimated $US4 billion ($A6.7b) with Israel-based Innoviz Technologies for components, including laser-based lidar sensors, that will be used in advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicles from the middle of this decade.


Cariad has confirmed the deal but has declined to provide financial details.


According to a report published by Reuters, the deal is estimated to be worth “more than seven times that of the value of the company (Innoviz Technologies) which has a listed market value of just over $US500 million ($A721.6m).


In a statement, Innoviz Technologies CEO and co-founder Omer Keliaf described the Cariad deal as a “significant catalyst” for his company which was founded in 2016 and went public via a reverse merger in April of 2021.


“We are thrilled to work with the Cariad team and be a supplier of Lidar sensors and perception software to support safe mobility for vehicles launching from the middle of the decade,” said Mr Keliaf.


“Cariad is a leading player in the transformation of the whole automotive space. We are proud to be part of their mission.”


The Volkswagen deal is the second major automotive partnership for Innoviz Technologies in the past four years. In 2018, it announced a partnership with Magna International to supply lidar components to German manufacturer BMW.


As with the VW contract, the financial details of the Magna International deal were not disclosed but were also reported to help the company to support technology based around forthcoming autonomous vehicle platforms.


The high-resolution lidar equipment developed by Innoviz Technologies generates a three-dimensional image of a vehicle’s surroundings in real time, even in settings such as direct sunlight, varying weather conditions, and in multi-lidar environments.


Cariad, which was established in 2020 to co-ordinate software development at Volkswagen, earlier this year announced technical partnerships with Bosch, Qualcomm and STMicroelectronics.


Reuters says it is not clear how or if Volkswagen plans to mesh aspects of the various deals under its broader autonomous vehicle strategy.


In early July, Cariad said it planned to streamline efforts to quicken the pace of software development after criticism from Volkswagen’s supervisory board.


In a statement this week, Cariad said Innoviz would supply lidar sensors for Cariad's uniform scalable future architecture, beginning mid-decade. The architecture will underpin numerous vehicles sold by multiple Volkswagen brands.

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