Velodyne Lidar has been the exclusive provider of Light Detection and Ranging sensory equipment for Ford’s autonomous vehicle program for years now. Ford and Chinese technology firm Baidu Inc. invested $150 million in the self-driving tech company back in 2016, and when Velodyne Lidar went public last fall, we learned that Ford had a 7.6 percent stake in the company, which was worth around $227.2 million at the time. Now, Ford has sold off that stake completely.
According to a regulatory filing, Ford no longer has any shares of Velodyne as of the end of 2020, compared to the 13.1 million shares it owned just three months prior. “This is consistent with our efforts to make the best, highest use of capital,” said Ford spokesperson, T.R. Reid. “We are using Velodyne technology in our autonomous vehicles.”
Velodyne holds a vast portfolio of lidar technologies, including a host of patents related to self-driving technology. In the automotive industry, the company provides lidar used in autonomous vehicles and driver assistance systems. Velodyne currently has over 300 customers in the automotive and technology industries across the entire globe.
Velodyne’s value has remained volatile since its IPO in September, but the company peaked at $4.62 billion near the end of December. Ford’s investment into Velodyne came six months prior to its $1 billion investment in self-driving startup Argo AI, which has since developed its own self-driving lidar technology. Additionally, part of Ford and Volkswagen’s recent partnership agreement involved the latter investing $2.6 billion of its own money into Argo AI.