Shares of Isreal-based lidar startup Innoviz Technologies debuted on Wall Street on Tuesday after its merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Collective Growth Corp. Innoviz becomes the latest startup to merge with a SPAC to launch an IPO in order to raise new capital from investors looking for opportunities in the advanced mobility sector.
The combined company retains the Innoviz Technologies, Ltd. name and is listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “INVZW”.
The combined new company has an equity value of approximately $1.4 billion.
Collective Growth Corp. was founded in 2019 and is headquartered in Austin, TX. The company announced its agreement to merge with Innoviz in Dec 2020.
“Innoviz outperforms its peers by a wide margin when it comes to high-volume lidar production and technological development. We are proud to follow them on their journey as a publicly traded company,” said Bruce Linton, Chairman and CEO of Collective Growth Corp.
Innoviz was founded in 2016 and is based in Tel Aviv, Israel. The company is a developer of high-performance, solid-state LiDAR sensors as well as perception software for autonomous vehicles.
Innoviz developed a low cost and scalable solid-state lidar sensor called the InnovizOne for automakers, robotaxis and autonomous delivery companies. The InnovizOne is built to conform with the automotive industry’s highest standards. It’s highly reliable and is small enough to be easily integrated into a production vehicle.
InnovizOne works in direct sunlight and poor weather conditions and is able to detect objects 250 meters ahead. When combined with Innoviz’s perception software, the high resolution InnovizOne sensor enables superior object detection, classification, as well as tracking their movements.
The InnovizOne is being manufactured by Magna International, one of the world’s largest automotive component suppliers to the industry. Magna supplies parts to BMW, Tesla, Mercedes Benz, General Motors and others.
The term “lidar” is an acronym for “light detection and ranging.” Lidar sensors send out pulses of laser light that reflect back off objects to provide a 3D rendering of a vehicle’s surroundings in real-time.
Lidar acts as the “eyes” of an autonomous vehicle and is often combined with cameras and radar to help self-driving vehicles to safely navigate. Lidar can be used to detect vehicles pedestrians and other road users.
Over the last several years, the technology has become an essential sensor for developers of self-driving cars or vehicles equipped with advanced driver assist systems (ADAS). Lidar is an important sensor to support such vehicle safety features as Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which come standard on many new vehicles today.
As more vehicles are equipped with these advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) or even autonomous highway driving capability, Innoviz is among the new group of lidar startups, including Luminar, Ouster and AEye, that are lining up to secure contracts to supply the lidar perception technology to the world’s automakers.
“This is a pivotal moment for the Innoviz team and a historic one for the industry at large,” said Omer Keilaf, Co-Founder and CEO of Innoviz. “Since its founding, Innoviz’s engineers have pushed the boundaries of LiDAR performance, enabling us to bring a safe, reliable and affordable solution that automakers can adopt at scale.”
Innoviz inked a deal to supply its lidar sensors to automaker BMW back in 2018. At the time, BMW’s deal with Innoviz was one of the first contracts for solid-state LiDAR, the company said.
BMW said it selected the company’s InnovizOne for its unique micro-electro-mechanical system design (MEMs), as well as for its advanced computer vision capabilities for object detection and classification, which is necessary to support safe level 3 to 5 autonomous driving.
Last month, Innoviz announced the release of its new Automotive Perception Platform (InnovizAPP) for the auto industry. The perception software includes advanced AI and machine learning-based classification, detection and tracking features, the company said.
Innoviz is also working on computer vision, HD maps and other technology to better support an entire autonomous driving stack.
Innoviz said it is already shipping its InnovizAPP to automakers, helping them accelerate timelines for consumer AV programs globally. Innoviz said it will continue to collect data and develop new computer vision features for InnovizAPP.
Innoviz joins rival lidar companies Velodyne Lidar Inc and Luminar Technologies Inc. that recently merged with SPACs to launch an IPO to raise new capital on Wall Street.
In 2020, Luminar secured a supply deal with Volvo Cars, while Silicon Valley-based Velodyne Lidar Inc. announced a three-year supply deal with China’s Baidu Inc. in Oct 2020 for the company’s Apollo open-source autonomous driving platform. Velodyne also supplies its lidar sensors to U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co.