Autonomous vehicle technology company Velodyne Lidar has employed bankers for an IPO, according to sources familiar with the process.
Velodyne Lidar, who makes a laser technology that helps self-propelled cars discover the objects around them, works with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, the Royal Bank of Canada and William Blair for a potential public flow, the people said.
The company wants to surpass its last private valuation of $ 1.8 billion and become public before the turn of the year, one person said.
Although autonomous driving technology is in its early days, Velodyne Lidar tracks its origins back to 1[ads1]983, the founding year of the parent company Velodyne Acoustics.
The company started making lidar technology around 2005, and then spun off the audio department in 2016 with $ 150 million in financial support from Ford and Baidu.
Velodyne completed the $ 25 million funding round led by Japanese multinational Nikon at the end of 2018.
Read more: Uber Insiders describe infighting and questionable decisions before the self-propelled car killed a pedestrian Going public would do Velodyne to the first IPO in the new autonomous vehicle technology room.
The company's plans come in a high moment for the autonomous vehicle sector. Self-propelled cars are on the verge of commercial adoption, but the space continues to face public setbacks, including a fatal accident where one of Uber's self-propelled cars hit a pedestrian in March 2018.
Nevertheless, money continues to flow into the sector as competition grows between some of the largest players, such as Google's Waymo, Tesla, GM Cruise and Intel / MobileEye. GM's self-propelled car unit Cruise increased $ 1.15 billion in May from GM, SoftBank Vision Fund and Honda. That round appreciated the $ 19 billion cruise.
In June, Apple bought its self-driving car start Drive.ai, an acquihire that gives the company access to several engineers from the AV world. Drive.ai was last valued at $ 200 million, according to the PitchBook.
Quanergy Systems, one of Velodyne's largest competitors, has previously talked to banks about public, but by August 2018, it had launched plans, Bloomberg reported.
Quanergy and Velodyne are engaged in a patent question over a velodyne patent for a "high definition lidar system". The US Patent and Complaint Board upheld Velodyne's patent at the end of May, although Quanergy has said it plans to appeal this decision.
Velodyne, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup refused to comment. The Royal Bank of Canada and William Blair did not respond to a request for comment.