Innoviz Technologies Ltd. this week announced that it is supplying lidar sensors and perception software to Shaanxi Heavy Duty Automobile Co. for an autonomous truck project at one of China’s biggest ports.
Shaanxi Heavy Duty Automobile Co., also known as Shacman Trucks, is one of the largest truck manufacturers in China. Shaanxi consists of four companies and delivers 150,000 new trucks worldwide each year, including 10,000 trucks per year for the mining sector. The Xi’an, China-based company is also a leader in Chinese research and development of autonomous vehicles.
Rosh Ha’ayin, Israel-based Innoviz manufactures high-performance, solid-state lidar sensors and perception software for the automotive, drone, robotics, mapping, and other industries. The company’s offerings include InnovizOne for automotive-grade applications and InnovizPro, which brings vision to various industries. It said its perception software is designed to provide advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning-based classification, detection, and tracking features.
In March 2019, Innoviz raised $132 million, and its Series C round closed at $170 million in June. The global market for lidar systems will experience a compound annual growth rate of 18.5%, growing from $844 million in 2019 to $2.2 billion in 2024, predicts Markets and Markets.
Innoviz to map port, help trucks comply with law
Chinese legislation stipulates that by May 2020, all trucks are required to have at least two advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS): a mandatory camera and either a radar or a lidar system.
In the first stage of the project, Shaanxi Truck’s autonomous proof-of-concept project is using the InnovizPro lidar at the Chinese port. The truck supplier eventually expects to deploy up to 600 trucks at this site.
Innoviz said its system will provide sensing, mapping, and location functions for autonomous driving at speeds of under 30 kilometers per hour (18.6 mph) in the harbor area. It will create detailed maps, and the software will compare the point-cloud image created by the lidar in real time to the location provided via preloaded maps generated by the sensors. This includes real-time identification of “free space” or “drivable space,” as well as object detection.
One major task for the trucks is to enable autonomous loading and unloading of containers in the port area. After testing many potential lidar systems, Shaanxi Trucks chose InnovizPro, a first-of-its-kind solid-state sensor, because of its reliability and price/performance advantages, said Innoviz.
Integration and partnerships
Integration of location sensors such as retroreflectors is also possible in geofenced areas such as the port, enhancing the ability of the lidar to fully understand its surroundings.
“I have been introducing excellent Israeli technologies to Chinese OEMs for many years, and I am very excited about the future of Innoviz’s lidar at Shaanxi Trucks and other Chinese OEMs,” said Shen Yong, director of Xiamen Zhongxinyun Intelligent Co., the systems integrator for this project, which is responsible for the sensor fusion.
“Innoviz sees tremendous opportunity in extending autonomous technology to the trucking sector,” said Omer Keilaf, CEO and co-founder of Innoviz. “We are therefore looking forward to the work ahead for this project with Shaanxi Trucks.”