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Porsche invests in self-driving technology startup Aeva

German luxury-car maker Porsche Automobil Holding SE has made a "significant investment" in self-driving technology developer Aeva Inc.

The California-based startup, which develops LIDAR sensors for autonomous vehicles, said Dec. 11 that the investment expands its partnership with another Volkswagen AG-owned brand, Audi AG.

In April, Aeva partnered with Audi's AID-Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH to focus on the development of its 4D LiDAR technology.

"Together we are looking into using Aeva's 4D LiDAR for our VW ID Buzz AV, which is scheduled to launch in 2022-2023," said Alex Hitzinger, senior vice president of autonomous driving at Volkswagen Group and CEO of VW Autonomy GmbH.

Aeva said it has created a miniaturized photonics chip, called Aeries, that reduces the size and power requirements of typical LIDAR systems by "orders of magnitude." It said it will cost less than $500 at scale, compared to "several tens of thousands of dollars" for today's LIDAR sensors.

The chip will be available for use in development vehicles by the first half of 2020 and meets production requirements for autonomous robo-taxis and advanced driver-assistance systems, the company added.

Aeva was founded by former Apple Inc. engineers Soroush Dardashti and Mina Rezk. In 2018, the company raised $45 million in a series A funding round co-led by Lux Capital Management and Canaan Partners.