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Innoviz CEO discusses partnerships with Nvidia and BMW on LiDAR technology for autonomous vehicles

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Innoviz CEO Omer Keilaf joins Yahoo Finance to explain the use cases for LiDAR technology and how Innoviz is contributing to technological advances.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- Innoviz Technologies, the maker of LiDAR sensors for autonomous vehicles, is fresh off a better than expected quarterly earnings report, also an upgrade this week from Goldman Sachs. Joining us now is Innoviz's CEO Omer Keilaf. Omer, good to see you again. And congratulations on the upgrade from Goldman, in which they believe your company is an attractive long-term opportunity to support not only autonomous vehicles, but also smart cities with your LiDAR solutions. Since going public in a SPAC deal about six or seven months ago, Innoviz's stock is down about 50%. Is there something investors just aren't getting here with the Innoviz story?

OMER KEILAF: Well, I think that the entire stock market is getting some difficulty, but in general, eventually, there will be spreading of the different companies. What Innoviz managed to do in the last two quarters, and I think now that we are going on track back to get the market confidence, we spent many trips to New York and meeting with investors, showing our product.

And now with evidence of additional partnerships, such as the NVIDIA last week and BMW last week on our earnings call coming along to talk about the program, the progress, and their trust in our technology, saying that our Innoviz technology is the right technology for the market, I think while autonomous driving is in the future, most of the decision-makings are going to happen now. And I think that the market is starting to see that Innoviz is getting the right votes.

- I want to ask you, sir-- thank you so much first for coming on-- I know very little about LiDAR technology, and I was actually so happy to see that you commissioned some research into how many people actually don't know about it. So for those of us who are a little, you know, not up to speed yet, please explain what exactly it is. And then what sort of other, you know, aspects does it have, and who are some of the companies that you're partnering with?

OMER KEILAF: Sure. So a LiDAR, which is the product that I'm holding here in my hand, you can see it's a very small device. The video that you see right now is giving a good representation. It's a 3D sensor, it's like a 3D camera based on a laser scanner. It allows to get a 3D understanding of the scene. You can use it in many applications, not only in automotive.

But for automotive, it's providing the car the good ability to understand the scene and drive safer. Metaverse, which is a new application that we all talk about, such as getting into virtual reality eventually, is a way to consume 3D. So LiDARs, which are allowing us to capture the world, it scans the scene and basically giving us a 3D understanding. Can be used in many ways.

Today-- and we talked earlier about the pandemic, which was interesting to me. People talk about the pandemic as a very serious problem, and obviously get us a sense of urgency to solve this problem. But if you think about accidents, car accidents that have been with us for so long, people take this issue for granted. It's like a toll that we all need to live with. But it's not the case.

The technologies that are available today, the technologies that Innoviz are providing to the market is going to solve one of the biggest problems that we just got used to. You saw the pandemic going down, and then suddenly accidents start over again. It's horrible, and I think it's something that we also should have a sense of urgency to solve.

I come from a family where my older sister went into a very serious accident. And I think that, you know, every year, you have 1.5 million people dying on the street because of car accidents. And 50 million people are dying. Using a technology that can see better than us and drive the car safely is going to be tremendous. NVIDIA partnership, which we announced last week, is a good evidence of the use of our LiDARs in the market. And we are happy to see more and more partners going in that direction.

- So I want to then just ask you again, sir, what are some of the key deals you have in place? I believe there's something in the works with BMW. And then how much demand is there for your products?

OMER KEILAF: Basically, any car maker who wants to promote L2+ ability to drive the car automatically or autonomously needs the ability to understand the scene in a better way. Eventually, the car makers see this as an opportunity to generate revenues because they can provide you chauffeur services. So there is also a motivation, financial motivation for car makers to promote it. But of course, as you know, car makers, the topic of safety is a very critical element in their branding. And therefore, it's important for them that, once they issue it, eventually it has to be very safe.

BMW is being the first in the market to provide a level three to the market among all other car makers. They chose Innoviz. As you know, BMW is a very technically strong leader. The fact that they chose us is a huge endorsement. Last week on the earnings call, they came in and talked. And as you can imagine, it's not a small, I would say, thing that BMW would decide to participate in an earnings call of one of their suppliers. But they decided to do it because they understand that it's important that people understand the importance and advantages of using our LiDAR due to the performance, but also from reliability, industrialization, and pricing, of course.

- All right, we're going to leave it there. Omer Keilaf, CEO of Innoviz, always good to see you. Thanks for stopping by.