4D lidar-on-chip startup eyes new markets with SPAC merger

4D lidar-on-chip startup eyes new markets with SPAC merger

Business news |
By Rich Pell

The company, which provides a perception platform built from the ground up on silicon photonics for mass-scale application in automotive, consumer electronics, and other sectors, says it has entered into a definitive agreement for a business combination with special purpose acquisition company InterPrivate Acquisition Corp (NYSE: IPV). Founded in 2017 by former Apple engineers, Aeva is currently actively engaged with thirty of the top players in automated and autonomous driving across passenger, trucking, and mobility.

“From the beginning our vision has been to create a fundamentally new sensing system to enable perception across all devices,” says said Soroush Salehian, Co-founder and CEO at Aeva. “This milestone accelerates our journey toward delivering the next paradigm in perception to mass market applications, not just in automotive but consumer and beyond.”

Unlike legacy Lidar, which relies on time of flight (ToF) technology and measures only depth and reflectivity, the company’s solution uses a frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) technology to measure velocity in addition to depth, reflectivity, and inertial motion. Its innovative FMCW technology, says the company, draws on significantly less power than other available technologies, including ToF, to bring perception to broad applications at an industry-leading cost.

With its software stack, the company says it plans to bring its perception platform to a range of industries beyond automotive, including consumer electronics, consumer health, industrial robotics, and security.

“From the beginning, we believed that the only way to achieve the holy grail of LiDAR is to be integrated on a chip,” says Mina Rezk, Co-founder and CTO at Aeva. “Over the last four years, we did it by leveraging Aeva’s unique coherent FMCW approach. With today’s announcement, we can use our development efforts to expand into new markets that were simply not possible before.”

In 2019, the company announced a partnership with Audi’s Autonomous Intelligent Driving entity. The company says it has also partnered with multiple other passenger car, trucking and mobility platforms to further adoption of ADAS and autonomous applications. It is also in a production partnership with ZF, one of the world’s largest automotive Tier 1 manufacturers to top OEMs, to supply the first automotive-grade 4D Lidar from select ZF production plants.

InterPrivate Acquisition Corp., which announced its initial public offering in February, is a blank check company organized for the purpose of effecting a merger, share exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, recapitalization, reorganization, or other similar business combination with one or more businesses or entities.

Ahmed Fattouh, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of InterPrivate says, “We look forward to our combination with Aeva, which was the clear stand-out amongst the 100+ merger targets we evaluated. The company’s breakthrough technology combines the key advantages of lidar, radar, motion sensing, and vision in a single compact chip.”

“As a result of this transaction,” says Fattouh, “Aeva is not expected to require any additional funding to achieve significant cash flow through its commercial partnerships with world-class customers. Soroush, Mina and their team are revolutionizing sensing solutions not only for the automotive industry, but ultimately across all devices.”

Upon closing of the transaction, which is expected in Q1 2021, the combined company is expected to have an estimated post-transaction equity value of approximately $2.1B. At that time the combined company will be renamed “Aeva, Inc.” and is expected to continue to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and trade under the ticker symbol “AEVA.”


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