News Worms
News Worms


GM's self-driving unit just bought its own LIDAR manufacturer

GM's self-driving unit just bought its own LIDAR manufacturer

Strobe, based in Pasadena, California, will be taken under the wing of GM's Cruise Automation team to develop next-generation Lidar for the company's self-driving vehicles. Acquiring a small and nimble startup that has a core focus on developing the key sensor used in autonomous vehicles allows the Detroit-based auto giant to speed its path to market with a self-driving car.

The San Francisco company purchased previous year by General Motors announced Monday that it is buying Strobe, a Pasadena startup that makes lidar, a laser-based sensor that most autonomous vehicles use to see the world around them. Terms of the Strobe acquisition were not disclosed.

Vogt says that decreasing costs for autonomous vehicles will be key in deploying them across a range of different areas, including in the suburbs and outside of major cities, where now the economics would make it hard to deploy something like an autonomous ride hailing service. Another startup, Luminar, recently revealed the scale of its own operation, and it's also announced that it's working with Toyota Research Institute along with other select partners to add its capabilities to autonomous test vehicles on the road. The technology uses light to create high-resolution images that are considered to be more accurate than cameras or radar alone. As self-driving technology continues to evolve, Lidar's accuracy will play a critical role in its deployment.

Strobe's lidar technology, accord to Cruise, functions on a single computer chip and has the potential to slash lidar costs by 99 percent.

"The successful deployment of self-driving vehicles will be highly dependent on the availability of LIDAR sensors", Julie Schoenfeld, Strobe's CEO, said in a statement. GM's Director of autonomous vehicle integration has recently spoken up against Musk's narrative that Tesla Autopilot will be fully autonomous and capable of piloting a auto from California to NY on its own by the end of the year.

Cruise, the self-driving startup acquired by General Motors a year ago, is now gobbling up companies of its own.

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