BMW selects Innoviz solid-state MEMS lidar for production autonomous vehicles

May 6, 2018
The solid-state lidar sensor from Innoviz is much smaller and doesn't spin like other lidar systems.

BMW has already made clear its intent to launch self-driving cars by 2021. Now, the automaker has decided on solid-state lidar (light detection and ranging) sensors and computer vision tech from startup Innoviz (Kfar Saba, Israel) to enable its Level 3-5 autonomous vehicles to "see" their surroundings. For clarity, level 3 and 4 involves highly automated driving; level 5 is entirely autonomous, which means a human couldn’t intervene even if they wanted to.

RELATED ARTICLE: Innoviz and LeddarTech obtain major funding for solid-state lidar commercialization

Lidar sensors, which use lasers to help self-driving cars figure out how to navigate, are usually quite bulky and constantly spinning on the roof of the car. The solid-state lidar sensor from Innoviz is much smaller and doesn’t spin. Next year, the InnovizOne will available as a built-in device beginning next year.

It's not clear what lidar BMW was using in its previous testing, but BMW's venture funding had previously invested in lidar company Blackmore Sensors and Analytics. Moving forward, the plan is to integrate Innoviz's technologies into the Intel-Mobileye platform for the purposes of testing and mass production. BMW has already been working with Intel and Mobileye around autonomous driving.

In addition to lidar sensors, Innoviz brings object detection (people, cars, trucks, bikes, lane markings), tracking, classification and other functionality to BMW. This partnership also includes collaboration with auto industry supplier Magna, which participated in a $65 million Series B round in Innoviz last September.

"Beyond that, our lidar technology can also apply to additional market applications in need of advanced sensing technology, such as mapping, fleets & robotaxis, security and surveillance, industrial automation, logistics and more," an Innoviz spokesperson said in a statement. "Right now our focus is on the automotive industry, but we haven't ruled out other areas for future development."

In March, Lyft announced a partnership with Magna to help get its self-driving tech into various automakers, as well as implement the ride-hailing service into future autonomous cars.

SOURCE: Innoviz; https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/26/bmw-is-working-with-lidar-company-innoviz-to-make-self-driving-cars/

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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