BMW Picks Start-Up Innoviz For Autonomous Car Radar
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 and Global automotive supplier Magna International, to enable its Level 3 – 5 autonomous vehicles to “see” their surroundings.
The financial terms of the deal and the make and model of the vehicle were not disclosed.
Magna says the new-business contract “is one of the first in the auto industry to include solid-state lidar for serial production.”
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.
The high-resolution lidar developed between Magna and Innoviz generates a 3D image of the vehicle’s surroundings in real time, even in settings such as direct sunlight, varying weather conditions and multi-lidar environments.
“Automakers have been looking for a lidar technology provider to deliver a mass-market solution,” Innoviz founder Omer Keilaf said in a statement. “BMW is setting a high standard in autonomous vehicles development, and their vote of confidence in our lidar demonstrates how advanced our technology is.”
LiDAR has been something of an Achilles heel for developers of self-driving technology. One commonly cited figure is that the sensors have fallen in price by about 70 percent since the autonomous arms race began. But sensors still cost thousands of dollars, and many self-driving platforms require more than one.