indie Semi buys camera sensing firm for ‘uncrashable’ cars

indie Semi buys camera sensing firm for ‘uncrashable’ cars

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

indie Semiconductor is to buy GEO Semiconductor for its video processor technology for automotive cameras in a deal worth $180m.

The deal enables full sensor fusion of Radar, LiDAR, Ultrasound and Computer Vision technology in advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) applications to make vehicles ‘uncrashable’.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions.

“This acquisition completes our sensor fusion mosaic spanning Radar, LiDAR, Ultrasound and Computer Vision, bringing us a major step closer towards realizing our strategic vision of enabling the uncrashable car and creating an autotech powerhouse,” said Donald McClymont, indie’s co-founder and CEO.

The deal is worth $180 million, with $90m in cash and approximately 12 million indie Class A common shares.

GEO, based in California, has 100 global patents for its camera-based sensing and viewing capabilities that are shipping to customers including Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan and Toyota. It has design wins with over 20 Tier 1s and 400 car models and works with every major image sensor supplier.

Image processing systems are playing an increasingly critical role in ADAS applications with more than 20 cameras on board next generation vehicles serving different functions from object and lane detection, to surround view, night vision and driver and occupant monitoring.

IHS is forecasting 265 million camera ECUs will be needed to support the global automotive market in 2023, growing to 430 million units by 2028 and creating an $8.5 billion total addressable semiconductor market.

GEO has developed three generations of application specific camera video processors, including those focused on viewing, where video is projected on a display and viewed by the driver, and sensing, where video is processed using advanced computer vision and machine learning algorithms to assist the driver.

“It’s rare that acquisition targets are a perfect fit, but this is indeed the case with GEO,” said McClymont.

“Camera processing is at the core of the majority of use cases within ADAS applications. indie’s acquisition of GEO Semiconductor immediately rounds out our Computer Vision product portfolio with field-proven, differentiated solutions, enabling us to capitalize on the rapid proliferation of automotive image processors. At a higher level, GEO is complementary in terms of products, customers and global sales channels while, at the same time, highly synergistic operationally with massive cross selling opportunities,” he said.

“We are extremely excited to be joining forces with indie. As a relatively small private company, GEO has made remarkable progress since our founding in 2009 and full pivot to automotive product development in 2015. We’ve launched truly breakthrough vision processing ADAS solutions but were limited in the size of programs we could win,” said Dave Orton, GEO Semiconductor’s president and CEO.

“Leveraging the indie platform and their proven scalability, we can now unleash GEO’s full potential and offer leading Tier 1s and car OEMs unprecedented camera resolution, low latency, power efficiency and ultra-fast processing of image data for enhanced safety systems within next generation vehicles,” he said.

The company continues to see significant growth.

“Based on our Q4 revenue guidance, we expect to post 2022 top line growth of 129 percent versus 2021. Entering the new year, the stage is set for sustained top line outperformance and we remain laser focused on achieving profitability in the second half of 2023. Depending upon the closing date, our acquisition of GEO should add at least $40 million to our 2023 revenue base and enable us to accelerate our path to profitability,” said Thomas Schiller, CFO and EVP of strategy.

“indie continues to substantially outpace our addressable markets and is effectively navigating the global supply chain environment on the strength of our Tier 1, automotive OEM and supplier relationships,” he said.;

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