Image: Innoviz

Magna and Innoviz Technologies are to supply LiDAR to BMW Group for upcoming autonomous vehicle platforms. Israeli LiDAR-maker Innoviz is providing one of the first solid-state LiDAR systems (rather than featuring mechanical spinning laser units) under contract for series production with an automotive manufacturer. The Innoviz units will be integrated into Magna’s autonomous driving system for supply to BMW.

This LiDAR, featuring MEMs (microelectromechanical systems) with mirrors to guide the laser beams, is claimed to work in varying weather conditions including direct sunlight as well as in multi-LiDAR environments. It promises high angular resolution, a high frame rate and an extra-long detection range, and generates a real-time 3D ‘point cloud’ of its surroundings which feeds into a computer vision software stack with deep learning and algorithms to guide the car.

Innoviz notes that its software and computer vision system is tailored to the unique properties of this specific LiDAR and its scene perception, calibration, mapping and localization tools. It also comprises a very small and relatively affordable unit to fit to a car: InnovizOne, for levels 3-5 of autonomous driving, measures just 60 x 120 x 105mm and Innoviz says it “will cost in the hundreds of dollars, depending on volume”, though InnovizPro, a standalone LiDAR for testing and development of autonomous vehicles, is a four-figure sum in dollars.

“BMW is setting a high standard in autonomous vehicles development, and their vote of confidence in our LiDAR demonstrates how advanced our technology is,” said Omer Keilaf, co- founder and CEO of Innoviz. “The Innoviz and Magna teams collaborated to meet BMW requirements in quality and validation plans, and functional safety. Automakers have been looking for a LiDAR technology provider to deliver a mass-market solution, and we are proud to see our product coming to series production.”

Innoviz, whose 150-strong team has a background in developing technologies for the Israeli military, has a production site in Haifa and intends to open a second facility in China next year. Founded in early 2016, it has ambitious plans for global growth and diversification, and will open offices in Germany and Japan later this year in addition to its HQ in Israel and an office in Silicon Valley.

-Farah Alkhalisi