What happened

Shares of lidar maker Aeva Technologies (AEVA 5.94%) were trading sharply higher on Friday following its first-ever quarterly report as a public company. While the company's revenue total remains small, it now has plenty of cash. And it provided some intriguing updates on its efforts to move into the automotive space. 

As of 12:15 p.m. EDT today, Aeva's shares were up about 16.3% from Thursday's closing price.

So what

Aeva reported its first-quarter results after the U.S. markets closed on Thursday, and they were good. While the company's adjusted operating loss widened to $15.6 million versus $6.1 million in the first quarter of 2020, Aeva made significant progress in the quarter:

  • It signed a "foundational agreement" with an undisclosed large company to develop lidar systems for that company's autonomous-vehicle program. 
  • Announced a deal to supply lidar units to Volkswagen-backed autonomous truck start-up TuSimple Holdings (TSP).
  • Struck a deal with Japanese auto supplier Denso to collaborate on inexpensive lidar sensors for mass-market vehicles.
  • Upgraded the software for its existing "4-D" lidar systems to extend their range to 500 meters, enough (in theory, at least) to enable autonomous driving at highway speeds.
  • Completed its next-generation lidar chip module a few months ahead of schedule, and began pilot production with a manufacturing partner.

Last but not least, the company also completed its merger with special-purpose acquisition company InterPrivate Acquisition in March, taking it public and providing it with net proceeds of $513 million. As of the end of March, Aeva had $523 million in cash, versus just $24.6 million as of the end of 2020. 

Taken together, it was a fine quarter for Aeva, and that's why the stock was up on Friday. 

A white Mercedes-Benz SUV with two Aeva lidar units visible on its roof.

Aeva's lidar units have a low profile, which could make them well suited for mainstream vehicles. Image source: Aeva Technologies.

Now what

Not surprisingly given its still-tiny revenue levels, Aeva didn't provide investors with financial guidance for 2021. But it did share its objectives for the year, which include completing all development of its next-generation lidar system by the end of the year, building out its supply chain ahead of mass production of its lidar units, and working to land additional deals with both automotive and non-automotive partners.