Apple has reportedly begun talking to suppliers of lidar self-driving car sensors, as part of its effort to build an electric vehicle, according to Bloomberg.
Common on many self-driving vehicles and prototypes, lidar sensors are used to determine the vehicle’s distance from objects, people, and other vehicles. The technology also is used for other tech, including a few iPhone models.
Apple was talking with several lidar suppliers working on next-gen hardware, according to Bloomberg. The report also said Apple has developed in-house much of the software needed for self-driving vehicles. But a vehicle launch may be at least five years away, Bloomberg reported, citing internal Apple sources.
In recent weeks and months, reports have also claimed Apple was in talks with several car manufacturers about building Apple-branded vehicles.
In January, a South Korean newspaper reported advanced talks with Hyundai, with plans to build a “beta” version of an Apple vehicle within about a year. But Hyundai and its sister brand Kia later denied those talks.
MicroVision stock skyrocketed as much as 50% on Thursday after the company announced it has made significant progress on its patented Lidar technology for autonomous vehicles.
MicroVision said it received the necessary components and equipment to meet its April milestone of completing A-Samples of its Long-Range Lidar (LRL) Sensor and it started outdoor testing of key performance features on its development platform.
“We expect MicroVision’s Long-Range Lidar Sensor, (LRL Sensor) which has been in development for over two years, to meet or exceed requirements established by OEMs for autonomous safety and autonomous driving features,” said Sumit Sharma, Chief Executive Officer of MicroVision.
MicroVision’s CEO also said he expects his company’s first generation Lidar sensor to have a range of 250 meters and “the highest resolution at range of any lidar with 340 vertical lines up to 250 meters, 568 vertical lines up to 120 meters, and 944 vertical lines up to 60 meters.”
MicroVision’s stock has gained 1,225% in the last six months and over 3,000% throughout the past year. The rapid rise in share prices for a company that doesn’t produce any significant revenues caused short-sellers to take notice.
In December Hindenburg Research blasted MicroVision calling the company a “corporate husk.”
“We are short $MVIS. In a market gone mad, this $1.2 billion market cap corporate husk with almost no revenue or intellectual property value is a standout.” Hindenburg Research tweeted.
“It has risen 5,000% from lows this year on misguided retail euphoria over its LiDAR IP portfolio amid a broad EV bubble,” Hindenburg continued. “No one buys patents these days for any real money unless the patents have been put through the test of at least an IPR, our IP attorney told us.”
MicroVision claims its Lidar sensors are some of the best, most scalable products in the industry.
“We expect the capability of our LRL Sensor to meet or exceed OEM requirements, based on technology we have scaled multiple times over the last decade, as being a very strong strategic advantage,” Sharma said.
“Additionally, our sensor being designed on scalable silicon wafer and laser diode technologies will be capable of achieving scale at costs below $1,000 ASP, a key price point expected for commercial success,” added Sharma.
The company posted just $639,000 in revenue during the three months that ended in September and a net loss of $2.8 million.
MicroVision traded up 29.57%, at $18.14, as of 3:32 p.m. EST on Thursday.