Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

GM Acquires Driverless Tech Start-up Strobe

GM Acquires Driverless Tech Start-up Strobe

Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced. It's expensive and analysts say acquiring a company that specializes in it could be huge.

A GM spokesperson said that the company couldn't provide details related to the financials, but GM did confirm that the deal has closed.

"Strobe's ... technology will significantly improve the cost and capabilities of our vehicles so that we can more quickly accomplish our mission to deploy driverless vehicles at scale", Cruise Automation founder Kyle Vogt said in a statement.

By reducing the entire sensor down to a single chip, Strobe's system should reduce the cost of each LIDAR on each auto by nearly 99 percent, Vogt said.

Last week Vogt told reporters it has doing betters than competitors in testings cars in complex urban environments, including San Francisco, metropolitan Phoenix and Detroit.

LIDAR is one of the major sensor technologies used in autonomous, or self-driving vehicles, and there is fierce competition between large automakers to bring the cars to market first. GM and Ford are aiming to have fully self-driving cars on sale by 2021.

GM views the LIDAR technology as a key factor in developing the vehicle. Cruise's systems work by cross-checking data from a LIDAR setup, a radar, and a camera, all in real time. The goal of the buyout was not just to reduce the costs that would be associated with Cruise developing its own LIDAR solution, but also to reduce the actual material and installation labor costs associated with LIDAR sensors.

Monday said it acquired LIDAR technology company Strobe Inc.

LIDAR systems fire millions of laser beams every second and, because they don't rely on ambient light, can detect objects in virtually all lighting and weather conditions.

"The successful deployment of self-driving vehicles will be highly dependent on the availability of LIDAR sensors", said Julie Schoenfeld, Founder, and CEO, Strobe, Inc.

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