Aeva Inc., a lidar startup founded by ex-Apple engineers, raised $200 million in new funding, according to an announcement on Monday. In total, the company has raised over $560 million.
The news comes as Aeva prepares to go public via a SPAC merger with InterPrivate Acquisition Corp. It also comes amid a burst of interest in startups that specialize in lidar, technology that at its core uses lasers to measure distance. Fellow startups Velodyne and Luminar also went public through a SPAC, and Ouster recently said it would merge with Colonnade Acquisition CLA and begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
The surge is in-part due to the advancements in autonomous driving. Waymo recently opened up its self-driving fleet to the public in the Phoenix suburbs; Cruise said in December it would begin putting fully driverless cars on the road in San Francisco (the company previously had safety drivers in the vehicles). Apple is also said to be developing a self-driving car slated for unveiling in 2024.
While lidar is often discussed in the context of autonomous vehicles, the tech has broader applications for the automotive industry and beyond. Apple, for example, is rumored to be including a lidar scanner on all new iPhone models moving forward, according to Digitimes. It's currently available only on the iPhone 12 Pro.