Mountain View-based Aeva Inc., the leading provider of comprehensive perception solutions based on Silicon Phonotics, is going public throughout the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) route.

New York-based InterPrivate Acquisition Corp. will go public with it at a post-deal market valuation of $2.1 billion.

It plans to trade on the NYSE with the ticker “AEVA” by the first quarter of 2021.

The Mountain View, California-based lidar company was started by two former Apple engineers and is backed by Porsche SE among others.

The deal with InterPrivate is led by private equity investor Ahmed Fattouh.

4D Lidar Chip

Lidar, or light detection and ranging radar, measures distance. Aeva’s founders Soroush Salehian and Mina Rezk developed a 4D Lidar chip for mass scale applications in automotive, consumer electronics, consumer health, industrial and security markets. Aeva’s 4D LiDAR on Chip combines instant velocity measurements and long-range performance at affordable costs for commercialization at silicon scale.

Aeva Inc 4D Lidar Chip

Aeva 4D LiDAR on Chip

It’s considered by many in the emerging automated driving industry as a critical and necessary sensor.

Traditional lidar sensors are able to determine distance by sending out high-power pulses of light outside the visible spectrum and then tracking how long it takes for each of those pulses to return. As they come back, the direction of, and distance to, whatever those pulses hit are recorded as a point and eventually form a 3D map. The  “4D lidar,” can measure distance as well as instant velocity without losing range, all without any interference from the sun or other sensors.

Aeva Reveals First 4D LiDAR on Chip

“We see this transaction as an opportunity to accelerate our development efforts to scale our 4D LiDAR for production on next level ADAS and automated driving vehicles, but also importantly, we have separately seen significant interest for the use of our chip level LiDAR built on silicon photonics specifically for consumer device applications where our technology can provide higher range capability, no degradation from sunlight and measuring motion — which at the end open a new set of applications for expanded AR/VR and beyond,” Salehian said in an email to TechCrunch.

“To my knowledge, Aeva is the only company that is capable of providing such a LiDAR-on-chip technology that meets the high performance requirements of automotive and consumer device applications at such price points. And we feel that now is the right time for us to seize such opportunities.”

Besides getting backing from Porsche, Aeva also has a production partnership with Tier 1 manufacturers ZF to supply them their 4D lidar.

The company’s technology is also gaining the attention of people in consumer electronics.

The combined business will provide t up to $363M in gross proceeds, comprised of InterPrivate’s $243M held in trust and a $120M fully committed common stock PIPE at $10.00 per share, including investments from Adage Capital and Porsche SE.

All Aeva stockholders, including Lux Capital, Canaan Partners, and Lockheed Martin, will retain their equity holdings through Aeva’s transition into the publicly listed company.

Aeva plans to use 100% of the net proceeds from the transaction to accelerate its growth and commercialization.

Aeva is the third lidar company besides Velodyne and Luminar, to go public through SPACs. Velodyne was leading the market but dozens of startups have come up in the last several years competing for a market share.