General Motors stated on Monday it would buy Strobe Inc, which utilizes LIDAR technology to help self-driving vehicles recognize objects at a distance, to accelerate development of autonomous automobiles and cut sensor costs.
LIDAR is among the significant sensor technologies used in autonomous, or self-driving vehicles, and there is intense rivarly between big automakers to bring the vehicles to market first.
Completely self-driving cars are anticipated to enter the market in a limited form by around 2020. GM and its U.S. competitor Ford Motor have both publicly mentioned that they aim to have fully self-driving vehicles on sale by 2021.
“This acquisition is a game changer for GM and Cruise,” due to the expense savings it will bring,” Kyle Vogt, chief executive of automaker’s Cruise Automation, stated.
“We’ve made this acquisition since we aim to speed our path to market,” he included.
Strobe’s new microchip LIDAR system would substantially improve the capabilities of the self-driving cars and trucks GM was establishing, Vogt stated in a blog post and on a conference call with reporters.
By decreasing the whole sensor down to a single chip, Strobe’s system need to decrease the cost of each LIDAR on its self-driving automobiles by 99 percent, he stated.
The technology provided not just a distance measurement for an item on the road – cars, individuals and objects – however also determind that item’s speed.
“This is really essential for self-driving cars, especially in difficult scenarios,” Vogt said.
Vogt did not reveal financial terms, but stated 11 full-time Strobe workers would join Cruise as part of the deal.
He stated last week that the unit was making “rapid progress” toward deploying self-driving cars in part through testing vehicles on the congested streets of San Francisco.