Innoviz Technologies recently launched a new stand-alone, solid-state, MEMS-based LiDAR solution for automated driving. The Israeli-based company says InnovizPro meets the automotive industry’s criteria for LiDAR systems, particularity in the areas of performance, reliability, cost, size, and maturity. Along with automotive, InnovizPro may provide the company traction in other markets, including industrial automation, security, and logistics.
At AutoSens Detroit last May, we met Omer Keilaf, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Innoviz Technologies. Keilaf explained the challenges in developing an all-inclusive LiDAR system, meaning one that is lightweight, cost effective, and functional. Automakers today benchmark their product lines, subtracting weight and cost at every turn to enhance financial and vehicle performance. We came to understand that creating a LiDAR product to fit this mold was difficult, although Keilaf and his team seemed ahead of the curve.
“Innoviz has delivered the industry’s first high-performance LiDAR solution that perfectly meets all of the requirements necessary to take fully autonomous vehicles mainstream,” Nicolas Autret, Partner at 360 Capital Partners said last year. “Based on the impressive adoption Innoviz has generated to date and the extremely talented team they’ve put together, it’s evident that the market has made its decision on who is going to win the LiDAR race and unlock the market’s vast potential.”
The company’s unique and diverse technological roots may explain why InnovizPro meets the industry’s high standards. Innoviz was started by former members of the elite technological unit of the Israeli Defense Forces. The founders are experts in electro-optics, computer vision, MEMS design, and signal processing. In the military, Keilaf’s team was tasked with complex projects and tight deadlines. Assignments included building and implementing new technologies, from the ground up, in about eight to ten months. Not surprisingly, they needed to be reliable and cost effective. In our conversation with Keilaf, this aspect of Innoviz stood out more than any other.
“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 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.”
Eye In The Sky
InnovizPro allows the company’s partners to test and develop the next generation of autonomous driving programs. Key features include an exceptionally high frame rate, higher angular resolution, and wider field of view. This means InnovizPro generates a dense 3D point cloud with greater accuracy while providing a detection range of nearly 500 feet.
“We are addressing a major need for high-resolution scanning technology at lower costs, with no minimum order required,” Keilaf said. “While we continue to work towards automotive-grade LiDAR with InnovizOne, our partners can order InnovizPro now in order to gain access to the most advanced LiDAR currently available.”
Autonomous cars require, in no uncertain terms, a set of eyes. This is, in no uncertain terms, so they can see where they are going. Much like a human, machines need eyes to navigate. Cameras, sensors, and now LiDAR all serve that purpose. The point of InnovizPro is to deliver superior accuracy – or superior sight – when driving proves especially difficult: during bad or unpredictable weather, at night, on a busy freeway, or when bright sunlight obstructs the view. In general, LiDAR’s range, detection, and accuracy make it necessary for autonomy – it can spot things cameras and sensors cannot, and its presence makes for a well-rounded autonomous car. InnovizPro just goes a little farther.
“It provides immediate accessibility to our advanced LiDAR technology and marks a giant leap forward for the entire autonomous vehicle market,” Keilaf added.
Live demonstrations of InnovizPro and samples of InnovizOne will be provided at the Consumer Electronics Show, January 9th through the 12th in Las Vegas, Nevada. Innoviz is booth 2101 inside the Smart Cities Hall, Tech East, Westgate. Innoviz will also demo InnovizPro at Automotive World Japan in Tokyo, beginning January 17th.
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.