[THE INVESTOR] Korean Internet giant Naver said on Sept. 8 that it has joined a US$65 million funding round for Innoviz Technologies, an Israeli firm specialized in laser-based detection technology for autonomous vehicles.
Unlike radar, which utilizes radio waves to detect the location and movement of objects, lidar -- a portmanteau of light and rader -- uses a pulsed laser to identify objects in an accurate manner.
Global automotive parts manufacturers, including Delphi Automotive and Magna International, joined the series B funding, but they have not disclosed the amount.
With the new investment, the Korean internet behemoth, which has been testing an autonomous car on roads in Korea, aims to step up its push for self-driving cars.
“Companies from automotive, IT and electronic sectors are joining forces to acquire core technologies for autonomous vehicles,” said Naver CTO Song Chang-hyeon. “Naver will ramp up efforts to invest in companies for self-driving car technology and seek partnerships.”
Innoviz plans to roll out its first commercial add-on lidar product InnovizPro next year and InnovizOne, a built-in sensor for self-driving car, by 2019.
The lidar sensor maker, established in January 2016 by former members of the elite technological unit of the Israeli Defense Forces, recently came into the limelight because of its low-cost, but high performance, lidar sensors.
The global lidar sector is forecast to grow 61 percent each year to US$3.3 billion by 2021, according to data by market research firm Strategy Analytics provided by Naver.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org