GM Buys LiDAR Tech Company Strobe

The corporate logo of General Motors is seen at the facilities of the company in Valencia Venezuela

"Strobe's deep engineering talent and technology backed by numerous patents will play a significant role in helping GM and Cruise bring these vehicles to market sooner than many think".

Velodyne is now the industry leader in terms of LiDAR employed in self-driving vehicle technology, but many are trying to improve the cost, form factor and reliability of LiDAR parts.

The San Francisco company purchased past 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.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

LiDAR sensors are used for mapping, localization, object identification, and collision avoidance in self-driving cars.

Lidar uses lasers to measure the distance of objects in the car's field of vision.


GM views the LIDAR technology as a key factor in developing the auto.

Kyle Vogt, chief executive of Cruise, said Strobe is developing a lidar system that will be much smaller and cost a tiny fraction of the bulky lidar sensors that the company and others now use on their test cars.

In autonomous cars, LiDAR uses lasers to scan the environment, creating a 3D rendering that gives the auto a better understanding of the world than it could get using only cameras or radar.

Strobe's technology offers accurate measurement of both distance and velocity, Vogt says, and combined with radar, can provide information vital to decision-making for self-driving cars.

By reducing the entire sensor down to a single chip, Strobe's system should reduce the cost of each LIDAR on its self-driving cars by 99 percent, he said.

GM shares have risen more than 20% in the past month, to $45.26 in afternoon trading Monday. The vehicle will join Cruise's testing fleets in San Francisco, metropolitan Phoenix and Detroit. In addition to the Cruise acquisition, GM also invested $500 million in ride-hailing firm Lyft Inc.in early 2016.

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