VW’s CARIAD confirmed as customer For InnovizTwo Lidar From 2025

In May 2022 during its first quarter earnings call, Israeli lidar startup Innoviz announced that it had booked one of the largest automotive production design wins to date with a $4 billion order for its next-generation sensors. At the time, CEO Omer Keilaf wasn’t able to announce the customer, but it has now been revealed as Volkswagen’s CARIAD division.

Given the size of the order which could amount to about 8 million sensors if Innoviz hits its price target of $500 for the InnovizTwo and the acknowledgement that systems using the sensor would be applied across multiple brands, Volkswagen Group was one of the few realistic companies to be the customer. The same day Innoviz made its announcement, QualcommQCOM +1.6% and CARIAD also announced they would be collaborating on next-generation driver assist and automation systems using the SnapDragon Ride compute platform.

As part of its deal with CARIAD, Innoviz is transitioning to becoming a tier one automotive supplier. That means it will be dealing directly with the VW subsidiary to sell both sensors and related software. With its other automotive customer, BMW, Innoviz is a tier 2 supplier providing technology to Magna which is manufacturing the InnovizOne sensor and integrating with other components for driver assist. Innoviz will be using contract manufacturers to produce various components and that it will integrate and deliver. Innoviz is currently testing B-sample prototypes both in the lab and on vehicles.

The InnovizTwo sensor is based on the same technology as the InnovizOne being used by BMW, but it has been more highly optimized for lower cost and better performance. Instead of four lasers, it uses only one. The application specific integrated circuit that controls the sensor has been carried over, but the MEMS beam steering system and photodetector have been reworked. Innoviz uses 905 nm lasers which are less costly than the 1550 nm lasers used by competitors like Luminar and Aeye. However, the output power of 905 nm must be limited to prevent eye damage so these sensors are claimed to be capable of detection out to 300 m compared to the 500 m or more claimed by 1550 nm vendors.

Innoviz has already begun work to port its lidar perception software to run on CARIAD’s software platform which in turn will run on a central computer powered by Qualcomm’s system on a chip (SoC). The lidar vendor will be responsible for validating that perception software to production automotive grade standards including ensuring that it is secure. Innoviz will deliver a binary library file to CARIAD for integration with the rest of the system that VW’s new software group is developing.

The CARIAD system will include support for at least level 2 (hands-free assisted), level 3 (eyes-off conditional automation) and level 4 (full automation in specific areas, such as highway driving). It is expected to launch on several premium VW Group brands to start and then expand to other products.

While Innoviz isn’t giving a specific production start date, the new assisted and automated driving systems for various VW group brands had been expected to launch around 2025. However, one of the primary reasons behind the recent firing of VW Group CEO Herbert Diess is believed to be problems at CARIAD. The integration and expansion of all of VW’s software teams is reportedly not going well and many programs are behind schedule.

If this program comes to fruition, it could be the largest deployment of automotive lidar to date and would be a major expansion of the technology.