Innoviz updated its forecast to $6.9 billion sales

Above: Next-Generation of the Automotive-Grade LiDAR system, InnovizTwo

Following a new customer win in Asia, Innoviz Technologies, updated its forward-looking order book up to $6.9 billion, compared with $4 billion forecast approximately a year ago. The new customer is an emerging global EV manufacturer who selected InnovizTwo LiDAR sensor for its series production of passenger vehicles, starting 2024. In this deal, Innoviz will act as a Tier 1 supplier of the LiDAR solutions.

During the third quarter of 2022, Innoviz moved its corporate headquarters to a new facility in Rosh Ha’ayin (near Tel aviv). The move included improvements of the Israel-based production lines and “eliminating a key bottleneck in the overall production process” that will enable more InnovizOne units to be sold into non-automotive markets beginning in the fourth quarter of 2022 and ramping into 2023. As part of this process Innoviz has moved to the D-sample stage, which is the final step before the start of production in the Automotive industry.

Currently, Innoviz’s first high-end automotive LiDAR, InnovizOne is produced on two parallel production lines. The first is the production line in Holly, MI, which is owned by Magna and is serving the BMW program for the upcoming 2023 BMW 7 Series. The second is a production line at a contract manufacturer in Germany, which serves to support the autonomous shuttle program with a leading tier-1 automotive supplier and other customers.

The deal also marks the Company’s first production win with a new technology partner. According to rumors in the industry, Innoviz now has production wins with Mobileye and Qualcomm – two of the industry’s three major autonomous driving technology platform partners. The third one is NVIDIA. According to Omer Keilaf, CEO of Innoviz, the company now has 11 OEMs in the RFI and RFQ process, which collectively produce approximately 40 million vehicles per year. It also expects an additional 1-3 new decisions by OEMs in the next six months.

Innoviz and Sol Chip to assist Digital Transformation of Japan’s Postal Service

Japan Post will use the technologies of the Israeli companies Innoviz and Sol Chip, to accelerate its digital transformation and to assist in its efforts to minimize the carbon footprint of its operations. Innoviz’s LiDAR sensor will be used by Japan Post to compose digital maps of its mail delivery and parcel routes, which will be the future infrastructure for autonomous vehicles. Sol chip’s IoT chip, fed merely by the sun energy, will assist the post company in real time monitoring of parcel location and make the process of deliveries collection more efficient. 

Japan Post is a private corporation, supervised by the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of  Communication. In addition to postal services, it provides banking services, insurance and logistics. The cooperation of the two Israeli companies with Japan Post was promoted by the early-stage venture firm, Scrum Ventures, which promotes collaborations between start-ups and Japanese corporations, especially in the field is Smart City. 

Within the frame of the collaboration with Innoviz, Japan Post will install InnovizOne LiDAR sensors on their postal delivery cars. During the ride, the sensors will gather information regarding changes in roads and buildings along delivery routes and based on this information the system will generate a  regional 3D image. Later, this information will be used for the construction of 3D maps that will generate smart city services such as autonomous driving and unmanned delivery. Innoviz and Japan Post carried out a Proof Of Concept (POC), and are preparing for the initiation of the project. This is one of the first projects where LiDAR sensors are used for 3D mapping.  

Harvest energy from the sun 

Sol Chip Company was founded in 2009 by Dr. Shani Keysar and developed solar micro-battery providing energy for wireless and mobile IoT devices. The battery “harvests” its energy from the sun light and is intended to provide clean alternative to traditional chemical batteries. The solution is composed of solar cell, battery and energy management chip that provides the ability to operate low-consumption devices such as wireless sensors and similar devices. 

The chip includes a designated communication components that sends and receives data from the cloud, where the data is processed with AI-based algorithm for further insights construction. Within the cooperation with Japan Post, Sol Chip’s devices will also provide telemetry data for consumers.


The LiDAR Coalition Against Elon Musk

Above: Omer David Keilaf, CEO and Co-Founder of Innoviz (left) and Elon Musk

Two of the world’s experts in safety LiDAR technologies, established a new industrial group aiming to promote the deployment of lidar-based intelligent infrastructure and automotive safety technology. Ted Tewksbury, CEO of California-based Velodyne Lidar, and Omer David Keilaf, CEO and Co-Founder of Israel-based Innoviz Technologies, along with AEye, Cepton, Continental, Ouster and Quanergy Systems inaugurated last month The Lidar Coalition activity in a coordinated effort to convince decision and policy makers to adopt broad lidar deployment.

Tewksbury and Keilaf published a letter on Auto Jobs Now to explain the motived of the new advocacy group: “In recent years we have seen a tragic rise in pedestrian fatalities on our nation’s roadways. Public awareness campaigns and enforcement can only go so far in stemming the tide — we must embrace innovative technologies to prevent crashes and reverse this trend. This is why we are forming the Lidar Coalition, a global group of companies that, through U.S. policy advocacy, is dedicated to deployment of lifesaving technology that has the most potential to prevent harm to vulnerable road users.

3D map of the surrounding environment

“According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian deaths in the U.S. jumped by 46 percent to 6,516 in 2020 from 4,457 in 2011. Even more alarming, the most recent statistics from NHTSA project that 42,915 people died on U.S. roadways in 2021, the highest number of fatalities since 2005 and the highest annual percentage increase in the history of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 13 percent over 2020, which outpaced the 10.5% increase in overall fatalities.”

Nightlife LiDAR image produced by Innoviz' sensor
Nightlife LiDAR image produced by Innoviz’ sensor

Light Detection and Ranging, or “lidar,” is a remote sensing method that uses pulsed light to create a 3D map of the surrounding environment. Lidar is an important component in emerging transportation technologies including smart infrastructure, traffic management, autonomous vehicles (“AV”), advanced driver assist systems (“ADAS”), and many other applications. According to the letter, “Light Detection and Ranging, or lidar, can “see” at the speed of light and in all lighting conditions, including at dusk and at night.

“LiDAR ‘a fool’s errand'”

The biggest opponent of the The Lidar Coalition is Tesla’s owner, Elon Musk, known also as a vocal opposer of LiDAR. “It’s a crutch that will drive companies to a local maximum that they will find very hard to get out of,” He said during February 2018 earnings call. “Perhaps I am wrong, and I will look like a fool. But I am quite certain that I am not.” In April 2019 he gave a presentation on Tesla’s autonomous driving project,  calling LiDAR “a fool’s errand”.

He said: “LIDAR can be incredibly expensive, and it’s a costly bet for most companies. They can make the job of selling self-driving cars to customers practically impossible thanks to the added costs. But companies that use LIDAR are already working on reducing those costs. “They are expensive sensors that are unnecessary.”

But on May 20, 2021, a Tesla Model Y was spotted driving the roads equipped with a LiDAR sensor system on its roof. In October 2021 a similar rig was observed at Illinois. Did he change his mind? There has been no official explanation from Tesla regarding this interesting issue, although unofficial commentators have guessed that Tesla is using LiDAR in order to train its vision cameras, and not to control its own Autonomous Driving Suite.

Innoviz Co-founder stepped down and left the company

Above: Oren Rosenzweig (left) and Tali Chen

Innoviz Technologies, announced a series of management team appointments. Oren Rosenzweig, Co-founder of the company, is stepping down from his position as Chief Business Officer and Board roles, effective immediately, to pursue new opportunities. Rosenzweig will continue in an active advisory role through summer 2022. He is replaced by Tali Chen, which will oversee the Company’s business development activities, establish sales targets and KPIs, and implement, report and review strategic sales and marketing plans.

Chen most recently served as CBO for DSP Group, a provider of semiconductors for wireless communications devices. DSPG  was acquired by Synaptics in December 2, 2021 for $549 million. Prior to her tenure at DSP Group, Chen served in corporate development roles for RADA Electronics, a global provider of avionics and Military radar systems.

Based in Rosh Hayeen (near Tel Aviv), Innoviz provides LiDAR technologies and perception software for the Automotive industry. A month ago the company announced that one of the largest vehicle manufacturers in the world has selected Innoviz to become its direct LiDAR supplier across multiple brands. The selection follows more than two years of extensive diligence and qualification, and will increase Innoviz’s forward-looking order book by $4 billion to $6.6 billion.

Innoviz also announced the appointments of Scott Craig and Brijesh Shukla as country managers of the U.S. and Japan, respectively. Craig brings decades of experience in the semiconductor and automotive industries, previously serving at onsemi where he was responsible for OEM business development at Ford Motor Company worldwide, Stellantis and Argo – worldwide. Shukla brings twenty years of experience in direct customer-facing roles for companies such as Nissan, Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi.

According to Fact.MR, The global automotive LiDAR market expected to reach a valuation of US$ 3 Bn by 2031, with sales growing at a 19.5% CAGR, compared with $43o million in 2021. Based on technology, the solid-state LiDAR segment will account for 60% of the total market share. Increasing sales of autonomous vehicles will spur demand for automotive LiDAR systems.

BMW launched series 7 with Innoviz’s sensor inside

Following joint efforts lasted 4 years, Innoviz’s LiDAR sensor arrives to the market with the new BMW 7 series. Last week, the German car maker launched the new generation of its luxury cars, expected to be available at November 2022. The new series includes gas-powered cars, hybrid cars and – for the first time – an all electric model, BMW i7, equipped with a battery expected to range to 300 miles at each charge.  

Starting at 2023, the new 7 series will be BMW’s first to incorporate the Innoviz’s LiDAR sensor, a sensor defined by BMW as “the most powerful sensor in the industry”. BMW market the new models as the cutting edge technology, regarding driver safety and assistance applications, autonomous driving, integrated augmented reality and digitization. Innoviz’s sensor is considered a key component in the sensors array that support these applications, together with full-range radar with vertical separation, and an eight-megapixel windshield camera.   

In March 2022, Omer Keilaf, Innoviz’s CEO, revealed that the sensor developed for BMW has reached to the design freeze phase, after successfully passing all examinations. This means that from that moment, no changes are allowed to the BMW approved plan, and it will be produced in its current design. Mass production is expected already at 2022.

The car drives better than you

As part of its pre-launch marketing, BMW invited bloggers and leading automotive reporters for a test drive of the new models, which led to reviews and columns in leading industry websites such as Drive, Which Car, HT Auto, Forbes and more. One of the testers was “The Drive” reporter Chris Tsui. In its article “BMW Joins the Hands-Free Driving Fight”, Tsui was impressed by the ADAS and the autonomous driving systems relied on Innoviz’s sensor, and summarized the experience: “BMW’s latest flagship sedans are probably better at driving than you are”. He also noted that the semi-autonomous tech and improved self-parking capabilities make the car “more like a machine driver rather than a machine meant to be driven”.

The i7 model includes Level 2 hands-on Assisted Driving applications, assuring rendition of adaptive cruise with lane-keep. Below 85 mph, hands-off semi-autonomous highway cruising mode can be used, similar to Tesla’s Autopilot mode. In this mode, the car performs the steering, accelerating, and braking activities autonomously, with the driver required to keep looking at the road without holding the wheel. The system is also capable of autonomously move from one lane to the other. When approaching a highway exit, the driver may instruct the system to automatically move gradually from one line to the other, as long as the traffic is not too heavy or the exit is too close.   

Self navigation into your home garage

BMW announced that in the future it will provide the level-3 autonomy at these models, at up to 37 mph, and also in non-highway roads. For this type of autonomy, the Innoviz’s LiDAR sensor is essential. Commentators from the automotive industry estimate that this capability will be highly attractive at the Chinese market, where the average speed within urban areas is relatively low due to traffic loads.  

Tsui go on and reviews the new model’s autonomous parking capabilities, and says he never encountered such superior capabilities. Although the BMW 7 series vehicles are fairly large, the orientation and maneuvering capabilities allow the car to park even in challenging parking spots. In addition, it is possible to program a route in advance, so the car will automatically navigate, for example, from the gate through the driveway and park itself in the garage. This function can be performed even when the driver is outside the car. “This could very well become among the best in the business, a more-than-worthy competitor to GM’s Super Cruise and Tesla’s Autopilot”. 

Innoviz Introduced a New Category of HD LiDAR Sensor

Tel Aviv-based Innoviz Technologies, announced Innoviz360 – a new HD LiDAR architecture that provides 10 times resolution compared with current automotive LiDAR sensors. Unlike traditional spinner solutions that are performance limited with only up to 128 scanning lines, the new, lightweight, Innoviz360 LiDAR allows multiple scanning software configurations with up to 1280 scanning lines (10x) at a cost-effective price.

Innoviz360’s wide FoV (360 ° x64 ° ) and reduced cost targets the markets of  L4-L5 automotive applications, such as robotaxis, shuttles and trucks, and other applications beyond the automotive space. Innoviz expects samples of its Innoviz 360 HD LiDAR to be available in Q4 2022. “New innovations such as the Innoviz360 running on our open and scalable DRIVE platform can help the industry achieve truly autonomous transportation , ” said Gary Hicok, Senior VP of Engineering at NVIDIA.

Innoviz Co-Founder and CEO, Omer Keilaf, said: “The new architecture breaks through the performance and cost limitations of traditional and standard-resolution 360 spinners”. The new product complements InnovizOne and InnovizTwo, front looking LiDARs that are targeting high level of automation and are optimized for passenger vehicles (L2-L3). Innoviz360 is expected to generate revenues starting in 2023. It adds new total addressable market (TAM) for non-automotive applications of approximately $20B by 2030, in addition to $55B TAM for automotive applications.


Obayashi selects Innoviz’s LiDAR for autonomous tower crane

Obayashi, one of the largest Japanese construction companies, choose Innoviz’s LiDAR sensor for a semi-autonomous tower crane in develops. Obayashi intends to deploy the final system in various construction sites throughout Japan. This development is part of a larger Obayashi program to develop autonomous construction tools to be widely used in construction projects. The cooperation between the two companies started at 2018. 

The autonomous operation of the tower crane will be based on integration between the high performance capabilities of the LiDAR sensor and Obayashi’s software. The sensor generates 3D pictures and identifies of people and equipment in construction sites, based on measuring returns of multiple reflections per pixel. Obayashi’s software extracts the data from the sensor, and generates alerts and instructions for the crane’s operator. This joint solution makes operations highly automatic and enhances safety.  

Construction world became a place where we evidence greater processes of adopting autonomous technologies, mainly because construction sites are usually closed and delimited, and the tools in use require performing predefined structured processes. According to a ResearchAndMarkets report, the autonomous construction equipment market is expected to grow to $26.8 billion by 2030. This growth is mainly due to construction boom we witness in many countries, the shortage in professional HR and the increasing demand for higher safety levels in the construction processes.     

Obayashi is one of the largest construction companies in Japan, with $11.8 billion revenue in FY2021. A year ago, the company announced a new cooperation with the American SafeAI Company, a developer of a platform for autonomously operating heavy duty tools. The main goal of this cooperation is to develop a whole ecosystem for an “Autonomous Construction Site”. Together, both companies ran a pilot in a construction site at the Silicon Valley, where they demonstrated disposal of construction waste using an autonomous truck. The truck was a standard Caterpillar truck which was converted to operate autonomously using SafeAI’s platform.