Magna and Innoviz Technologies will supply BMW Group with solid-state LiDAR solutions as the automaker moves toward autonomous vehicle production. LiDAR, because of its range and accuracy, is considered an essential element for autonomous cars. The venture is among the first of its kind, moving solid-state LiDAR technology away from something seen only on prototype and concept vehicles to full production cars.
Magna officials say they reamin committed to flexible, scalable solutions that turn advancements like LiDAR into automotive-grade products. Magna, a global automotive supplier with a presence in 28 countries, has the ability to create a completely autonomous platform, or provide individual building blocks of the overall system, as is the case with BMW. Magna worked with Innoviz Technologies to deliver a viable solution for BMW’s future autonomous vehicles.
“We value the opportunity to support a premier brand such as BMW with our innovative technologies in sensors and systems,” explained Kelei Shen, President of Magna Electronics. “Our strong systems and integration knowledge and complete vehicle expertise give us the ability to provide scalable solutions for different levels of autonomy.”
“BMW is setting a high standard in autonomous vehicle development, and their vote of confidence in our LiDAR demonstrates how advanced our technology is,” added Omer Keilaf, co-founder and CEO of Innoviz. “The Innoviz and Magna teams collaborated to meet BMW requirements in quality and validation and functional safety.”
Innoviz has unique origins, being founded by former members of the elite technological unit of the Israeli Defense Forces. The company’s leaders and employees are experts in electro-optics, computer vision, MEMS design, and signal processing among other disciplines. In the military, Keilaf’s team was tasked with complex projects and tight deadlines, working around the clock to implement new technologies in service to their country.
“I come from a small unit but we were developing very unique hardware and technology – it’s like if MIT had an army,” he told us in a September 2017 feature. “You had to manage sometimes hundreds of people working on a certain project, and all of them needed to see something at the end that works perfectly.”
The experiences in the military inevitably shaped Innoviz and their success as a company. Today, they are backed by strategic partners and top-tier investors like Aptiv (Delphi), Magna International, Samsung Catalyst, SoftBank Ventures Korea, 360 Capital Partners, Glory Ventures, and Naver. The company’s LiDAR technology will benefit future BMW owners by functioning in the most challenging environments, like bright and direct sunlight or varying and unpredictable weather conditions.
“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,” Keilaf said.
Magna has been developing and manufacturing advanced driver assistance systems for automakers for nearly two decades. In August the company unveiled MAX4, a fully integrated and scalable platform that can enable up to Level 4 autonomous driving in both urban and highway environments. MAX4 contains radar, LiDAR, cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and an ADAS central computing module which can be supplied in part or as a whole system.
The company specializes in body exteriors, seating systems, and power and vision technologies among others. Magna’s common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (MG) and the New York Stock Exchange (MGA).
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. He studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan.