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Lidar maker Innoviz signs $4 billion supply deal with Volkswagen

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·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Omer Keilaf, CEO of Israeli firm, Innoviz Technologies, speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Smart Mobility Summit in Tel Aviv
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By Paul Lienert

(Reuters) - Innoviz Technologies will supply hardware and software to Volkswagen AG's Cariad unit in a deal valued at $4 billion, the Israeli company said on Tuesday.

The components, including laser-based lidar sensors, will be used in advanced driver assistance systems and automated vehicles from multiple brands in the Volkswagen Group, starting mid-decade, Innoviz said.

Cariad confirmed the deal, but declined to provide financial details.

The deal value as estimated by Innoviz is more than seven times the size of the company's market value of just over $500 million.

In a statement, Innoviz Chief Executive and co-founder Omer Keilaf described the Cariad supply deal as "a significant catalyst" for his company, which was founded in 2016 and went public via a reverse merger in April 2021.

Innoviz since then has seen its share price fall by two-thirds and its market value sliced to $540 million from $1.6 billion when it went public.

Early corporate investors in Innoviz included auto suppliers Magna International, Aptiv and Samsung Electronics' Harman International, according to investor website PitchBook. SoftBank also was a key backer.

Magna in 2018 announced a partnership with Innoviz to supply lidar to German automaker BMW.

Volkswagen in 2019 invested $2.6 billion in U.S. startup Argo AI, which is also backed by Ford Motor Co. Volkswagen's investment included the value of the automaker's European self-driving unit, control of which was transferred to Argo as part of the deal.

Cariad, which was established in 2020 to coordinate software development at Volkswagen, earlier this year announced technical partnerships with Bosch, Qualcomm and STMicroelectronics.

It is not clear how or if Volkswagen plans to mesh aspects of these various deals under its broader self-driving strategy.

In early July, Cariad said it planned to "streamline" efforts to step up the pace of software development after criticism from Volkswagen's supervisory board.

In a statement on Tuesday, Cariad said Innoviz would supply lidar sensors for Cariad's uniform scalable future architecture, beginning mid-decade. The architecture will underpin a number of vehicles sold by multiple Volkswagen brands.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Mark Potter)

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