NIO’s lidar supplier Innovusion will receive US$60 million in financing
Innovusion, a supplier of NIO’s lidars, will complete a new round of financing of 60 million US dollars, with a valuation of 300 million US dollars, 36Kr reports. Institutions such as Temasek, Bertelsmann Asia Investments AG (BAI) and Joy Capital participated in this round of financing.
Regarding the above information, 36kr asked Innovusion for verification but no response has been received.
In January of this year, Joyson Electronics just announced a strategic investment in Innovusion.
With the automotive industry betting on intelligent development, core sensor components such as lidar are also popular.
Luminar, which was listed on the U.S. stock market at the end of last year, is a lidar company with a 26-year-old founder. It has a market value of $9.5 billion and has received orders from giants such as Volvo Cars, Daimler, and Intel’s Mobileye.
NIO is the only one client that is disclosed for Innovusion.
At the NIO Day 2020 conference in early January, NIO announced the first flagship Sedan ET7, which will be delivered in the first quarter of 2022, equipped with lidar products provided by Innovusion.
NIO CEO Li Bin said that this lidar has an ultra-wide viewing angle of 120 degrees, equivalent to a high resolution of 300 lines, and can detect a maximum distance of 500 meters.
Although there are not many clients yet, it is reported that NIO would give Innovusion an order for a popular mass-produced model, requiring car-level quality and reliability standards. If it can be delivered smoothly, it will help Innovusion quickly to open up the car market.
A source told 36Kr that if the product quality is reliable, NIO will not only use lidar for the sedan ET7, but also “ES8, ES6 and EC6 models that have been launched on the market will also be equipped with Innovusion products.”
Official data show that the total delivery of NIO Automobile in 2020 will exceed 43,000 units.
Joyson Electronics will jointly develop with Innovusion through strategic investment to provide assistance in testing and manufacturing, according to the report.
Innovusion was founded in 2016. Founder and CEO Bao Junwei used to be the head of autonomous driving hardware at Baidu North America R&D Center.
In 2018, Innovusion received US$30 million in Series A financing. NIO Capital, Eight Roads Ventures, a subsidiary of Fidelity International, and F-Prime Capital of the United States jointly led the investment.
High-performance lidar is Innovusion’s product strategy. In public occasions, Bao once stated that for L3+ level autonomous vehicles, in order to fully satisfy their operational safety and reliability, the sensors on the vehicle should be functional. It must be able to replace the human eye, so that the human eye can see and determine what can be confirmed by the automatic driving system.
Whether to use lidar has always been a controversy in the smart car industry. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk is a typical opposer, who has publicly bombarded lidar use. That’s because of the shortcomings of lidar’s insufficient performance and high price.
However, the hardware competition in the smart car industry has allowed Lidar companies to see opportunities for mass production.
Not only will NIO use lidar in the new generation of autonomous driving systems, XPENG’s P5 sedan launched this year will also be equipped with two lidars from DJI’s Livox technology, and LI Auto’s CEO Li Xiang has also repeatedly made public occasions. Expressed recognition of the laser mine route.
Under the boom, many lidar companies have gained market and capital assistance. For example, Shenzhen’s lidar company RoboSense will provide products for the American electric vehicle company Lucid.
In early January, another player HESAI’s application for listing on the Sci-tech Innovation Board has also been accepted.
The rising tide of smart cars will help Lidar technology to move toward the direction of stability faster, and prices will drop rapidly. Will Musk and Tesla change their minds by then?