Cheaper lidar to boost autonomous driving, tech firm says

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TEL AVIV — Israeli lidar maker Innoviz Technologies said price reductions for the laser-based sensors will be key to enabling automakers to reach the next level of autonomous driving on a large scale.

Innoviz has developed a lidar that costs 70 percent less than the InnovizOne product it is supplying for BMW and Magna International’s self-driving car program, which is expected to launch by the end of 2021.

Samples of InnovizTwo will be available in the third quarter of 2021, CEO Omer Keilaf said. The product’s software will enable automakers to collect roadway data from customers and can be upgraded for the next level of autonomous driving.

Except for Tesla, most automakers have said their self-driving cars will rely on lidar sensors, which use laser light pulses to measure distances and render precise images of the environment around the car.

While Keilaf would not disclose the cost for InnovizTwo, he said the price barrier for automakers to use lidar at the present level of autonomous driving is $500 and his company’s product could meet that barrier.

“I believe most customers probably will start with InnovizOne to launch earlier and then will move to InnovizTwo to get scale at a lower cost,” he told Reuters.

Innoviz, which has raised $252 million, competes with companies such as Velodyne and Luminar.

In the past, a lidar system cost roughly $10,000. Luminar, which will supply its lidar systems to Volvo, says it has been able to bring that down to $1,000 for autonomous driving applications and $500 for advanced driver-assistance solutions built in volumes in the hundreds of thousands.

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Saurabh Shukla

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