May 4, 2021 - Economy & Business

Lidar developer AEye loses value in revised SPAC deal

Illustration of a disjointed vehicle.

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

AEye, a Dublin, Calif.-based lidar technology developer, amended terms of its SPAC merger with CF Finance Acquisition Corp III, dropping the implied valuation to $1.52 billion from $2 billion.

Why it matters: It's a reminder that SPAC deals can't stand apart from sector trends, even if the broader SPAC bucket should be uncorrelated. Shares of rival lidar developers Luminar and Ouster have both fallen by double digits since their post-SPAC debuts.

The big picture: AEye has raised over $90 million from firms like Kleiner Perkins, Intel Capital, Airbus Ventures, Taiwania Capital and Tychee Partners.

Bottom line, via Axios' Joann Muller: Lidar is one of several perception technologies self-driving cars can use to see the road, but so far none of them can do everything automakers need.

  • Argo AI, which is developing self-driving technology for Ford and Volkswagen, just announced it's switching to an in-house lidar system, while Tesla says it won’t use lidar at all.
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