Innoviz Announced Operational Realignment

Photo above: Test cars in Innoviz’ lab. Credit: Techtime

Innoviz Technologies announced a strategic realignment of its operations to expand the Company’s cash runway and optimize its path towards cash flow generation. The realignment includes the reduction of the Company’s headcount by approximately 13%, the transition of InnovizOne LiDAR sensor into series production and the concentration of future investments on the InnovizTwo sensor and software platform. In late 2022, Innoviz employed approximately 470 employees. It means it reduces its workforce by 60 jobs.

As a result, Innoviz expects to reduce its 2024 planned cash outlays by $22-24 million on an annualized basis. Cash savings are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2024 with run rate savings expected to be achieved by the end of the second quarter of 2024.  Omer Keilaf, Innoviz Co-Founder and CEO, said there is a market capture window that will determine the market share of the LiDAR industry for the next decade.

“Today’s actions are the result of a thoughtful process to optimize the Company’s cost structure, increase our competitive positioning, and extend our cash runway through the expected remainder of the market capture window. Looking ahead, we remain confident in our ability to achieve our long-term goals and become a market leader in automotive LiDAR.”

Innoviz is a Tier 1 supplier of LiDAR sensors and perception software for the automotive industry and works with partners cross the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The company is traded in NASDAQ in a valuation of $ 282 millions. Its stock price is very low compared with it orinigal valuation of $ 1.4 billion (December 2020), following delays in the adoption of LiDAR technology across the automotive industry.

During CES 2024 last month in Las Vegas, BMW Group brought the new BMW i7 with level 3 autonomous driving capabilities enabled by the InnovizOne LiDAR is now available to order in Germany with deliveries expected to begin March 2024. Volkswagen showd its light commercial vehicle program VW ID. Buzz, utilizing InnovizTwo LiDAR for level 4 autonomous capabilities.

“LiDAR market will be a ‘Winner takes Most'”

Photo above: Omer Keilaf, Innoviz Co-Founder and CEO

The Tier-1 direct supplier of high-performance, automotive grade LiDAR sensors and perception software,  Innoviz Technologies, announced that its Revenues in Q3 2023 were $3.5 million, up 138% compared to revenues of $1.5 million in Q2 2023 and up 297% compared to revenues of $0.9 million in Q3 2022. The increase in revenues was driven by strong growth in InnovizTwo unit sales, which increased 102% sequentially.

Two major programs have moved to high gear during the quarter: BMW began shipping production units of its InnovizOne LiDAR sensor components to its first generation program. “We worked closely with the teams at Magna and BMW to complete testing and lock the final version of the software that will be installed on BMW 7 vehicles in the coming weeks,” said Omer Keilaf, Innoviz Co-Founder and CEO. “While the 7 Series was always planned to be our initial flagship launch for the InnovizOne, our technology was certified on several models and variants within the BMW Group, and our efforts are now shifting towards integration with additional models.”

Autonomous Shuttle with 6 LiDAR Sensors

The other development is a progress in a promising shuttle program with a leading automotive supplier, who had decided to change the platform from a four-LiDAR configuration to a six-LiDAR configuration. Keilaf: “We expect this program to be fully driverless (Level 4) electric vehicle capable of carrying over 20 passengers and the ability to operate 24 hours a day. The earliest applications are likely to be people movers in environments like airports, college campuses, private communities, and corporate campuses.

“This opens it up to urban centers and possibly even suburban environments where it could become a lower cost or much more flexible alternative to legacy public transportation models. In the initial stages, the shuttles can complement existing bus and train transportation systems, possibly linking different modes of transportation together or connecting otherwise uneconomical routes. Over time, it’s not hard to imagine the autonomous routes increasingly dislocating the legacy routes as adoption grows.”

They don’t know how much they don’t know

Keilf said that the BMW 7 program is a milestone for Innoviz and for the entire intustry as well: “It sends a strong signal to other OEMs that we can reach SOP (Start of Production) and hit our goals and milestones. It also differentiates us from our competition: There are a number of other LiDAR companies out there claiming to compete with us in automotive LiDAR space. But some don’t have even a single series production award yet. And some have awards but have yet to execute on SOP-related milestones. From our experience, those who haven’t executed on these milestones don’t even know how much they don’t know at this point.

“We already have BMW and Volkswagen Group as customers, and they collectively represent 15% of global automotive production. If we can secure just one or two more major OEMs as customer and we will have a substantial lead, since we believe the LiDAR market will ultimately be a ‘winner takes most’ industry. There are primarily two or three main platforms that everyone is using, either it’s NVIDIA or Mobileye or Qualcomm. We are very familiar with all of these platforms. Some of our work with these platform players is in order to learn about their hardware accelerators, so we can make use of them as best as possible.”

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.

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.

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.