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Aeva claims major design win with its FMCW lidar replacing time-of-flight

04 Jan 2024

Silicon Valley firm says a top global auto OEM will deploy its hardware in series production vehicles.

Aeva, the California-based lidar developer specializing in frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) versions of the technology, is claiming its first major design win for a series production vehicle.

The Mountain View firm says that the deal, which sees a “top global automotive OEM” replacing time-of-flight lidar with the more advanced FMCW, will start to deliver revenues imminently, with a production ramp expected “by mid-decade”.

“To Aeva’s knowledge, the production win represents one of the largest automotive series production awards in its class,” it added. “The selection positions Aeva to become a trusted direct Tier 1 supplier to automotive OEMs globally.”

CEO and co-founder Soroush Salehian commented: “This win is a defining moment for Aeva and the larger automated driving industry, as it represents one of the largest production design wins with an OEM transitioning to FMCW technology, and is Aeva’s first major production win with a top global automotive OEM.

“This is the culmination of multiple years of diligent effort by the Aeva team and extensive collaboration and qualification of our 4D lidar in the automotive industry, and we look forward to sharing more about the significance of this program in the coming weeks.”

Cash burn
News of the deal saw Aeva’s NYSE-listed stock price jump in value by close to 40 per cent, although it remains well below the initial valuation following the firm’s 2021 public listing, via a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deal.

Like several lidar developers that have been through a similar funding process, Aeva has thus far posted only minimal sales revenues, while burning through much of the cash raised using the SPAC financing.

According to the company’s most recent set of financial results, it had racked up an operating loss of $111 million in the first nine months of 2023, while generating only $2.7 million in sales.

Having burned through more than $90 million cash over that period, Aeva said in November that it had agreed a potential $145 million capital raise with existing shareholders that was partly contingent on commercial program awards.

More details of the design win may be forthcoming at next week’s CES 2024 event in Las Vegas, where Aeva will be showcasing its chip-scale FMCW lidar technology.

Unlike legacy approaches to lidar relying on large moving parts or MEMS components, the FMCW approach uses a chirped, low-power laser source to scan a vehicle’s surroundings, and has the ability to sense the position, velocity, and direction in which other objects are moving.

However, the technology is significantly more complex than conventional lidar, relying on highly integrated photonics and high-specification components.

At CES, Aeva says it will highlight its “Aeries II” FMCW lidar, and show off its technology in action on board an autonomous transit vehicle developed by Michigan-based autonomy specialist May Mobility.

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