What happened

Shares of Microvision (MVIS -2.61%) surged on Wednesday after the laser technology company said it completed a key development project. As of 12:50 p.m. EDT, Microvision's stock price was up more than 15% after rising as much as 27.7% earlier in the day.

So what

Microvision's new A-Sample hardware and development platform will allow it to demonstrate the benefits of its long-range lidar sensor to prospective customers.

"I believe our differentiated, high-performance lidar sensor has the potential to advance autonomous driving and active safety systems beyond current sensors announced in the automotive market," CEO Sumit Sharma said in a press release. "I expect that a version of this lidar sensor could be available for sale, in initial quantities, in the third or fourth quarter of 2021."

A person is pointing to a digital stock chart that rises, then falls, then rises again.

Investors bid up Microvision's share price on Wednesday. Image source: Getty Images.

Sharma touted the range and resolution of Microvision's lidar sensor, as well as its ability to work well in sunlight and near other sensors -- capabilities that could help to make autonomous driving safer.

"One of the groundbreaking proprietary features of this lidar sensor is its capability to output the axial, lateral, and vertical velocity of moving objects at 30 hertz," Sharma said. "We believe no lidar product on the market, ranging from frequency modulated continuous wave to time-of-flight, has this capability."

Now what

Microvision has become one of the most popular stocks on Reddit's message boards in recent weeks. This, combined with the large number of investors who are betting against its stock -- more than 20% of its shares are held short -- has made Microvision prone to violent price swings.

This volatility is likely to continue in the coming days. Microvision is scheduled to release its first-quarter financial results after the market close on Thursday.