Naver invests in Israeli sensor maker for autonomous driving technology

2017.09.08 15:18:23 | 2017.09.08 15:47:59

Innoviz Technologies`s LiDAR sensor image [Photo provided by Naver Corp.]이미지 확대

Innoviz Technologies`s LiDAR sensor image [Photo provided by Naver Corp.]

South Korea’s top online portal operator Naver Corp. invested in a self-driving car technology developer in Israel in a move to speed up its goal to foster its autonomous vehicle business.

Naver said on Friday that it together with world’s leading automotive suppliers Delphi Automotive and Magna International invested combined $65 million in Innoviz Technologies, Israeli startup that makes laser-based sensor technology for autonomous vehicles known as LiDAR. It did not disclose the amount of each company’s investment in Innoviz Technologies.

LiDAR is a sensing technology that calculates distance between objects by discharging beams of light and measuring the time it takes to return. It is one of core technologies that enable autonomous driving.

Innoviz Technologies, which was established last year, owns the laser-based sensor technology for self-driving cars, and it currently is upgrading the technology to sense objects based on deep learning techniques, according to Naver.

The Korean investor also praised Innoviz Technologies for lowering the price of LiDAR to one tenth of the generally high price tag of $80,000 per unit with its competitive technology. The startup expected upgrade in its technology is expected to help further cut the LiDAR price to $100 in the near future.

The Israeli tech firm is planning to commercialize its LiDAR product by the first quarter next year and it is getting ready to develop LiDAR that would enable level 3 self-driving, which allows the vehicle to have limited control of driving, and level 4, which allows the vehicle to have full control under certain conditions, in two years.

Naver expected its latest investment would help it advance its own self-driving technology and creates synergy with its Naver Labs Europe, future technology research house that it acquired from U.S.-based Xerox Corp. earlier this year.

Shares of Naver closed Friday at 727,000 won ($644.50), down 3,000 won or 0.41 percent from the previous session.

By Oh Chan-jong

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