Strobe Acquired By GM

GM buys lidar developer Strobe to further self-driving car tech   If you can’t beat'em buy'em.          
    General Motors

The terms of this acquisition were not released by GM or Strobe. The Pasadena, Calif. -based company has succeeded in reducing the sensor to a unit that fits in a person's hand, making it considerably less expensive than competitors' products.

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

This deal gives the automaker in-house expertise in developing the lidar sensors, which create images in high-definition for vehicles that are operated exclusively by computers.

Cruise Automation founder and CEO Kyle Vogt said: "Strobe's LIDAR 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 is testing autonomous electric Chevrolet Bolt cars on the streets of San Francisco with human backup drivers.

"By collapsing the entire sensor down to a single chip, we'll reduce the cost of each lidar on our self-driving cars by 99%", Mr. Vogt said in a blog post. Vogt wrote that when combined with RADAR and cameras, the LIDAR can handle pretty much every type of sensing needed for self-driving applications.

GM acquired Cruise in 2016 to press forward with an urban-self-driving solution.

GM views the LIDAR technology as a key factor in developing the auto. The Cadillac brand is now offering Super Cruise, a Lidar-powered system created to operate on highways. Most notably, Cruise is looking to bring self-driving, company-owned vehicles out to rural and suburban areas where autonomous vehicles from bigger names like Waymo may not be wandering as often for a while, and it's hoping to do so before the bigger companies even have a chance to get there.

Julie Schoenfeld, founder and CEO, Strobe, says: "The successful deployment of self-driving vehicles will be highly dependent on the availability of lidar sensors".

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