GM Buys LiDAR Tech Company Strobe

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. Today, the company announced its plan to buy Strobe, a startup that makes LIDAR sensors that help autonomous vehicles "see" their surroundings.

General Motors Co. announced on Monday that GM Cruise, its self-driving vehicle subsidiary, had acquired Strobe, a Pasadena startup developing a technology that uses lasers to measure distances to other objects. "But perhaps more importantly, 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%", Vogt said.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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

Cruise Chief Executive Kyle Vogt said in a blog post announcing the acquisition that he saw Strobe's technology as a cornerstone to mass-manufactured autonomous vehicles.

GM purchased Cruise Automaker for $1 billion past year and then basically turned over the keys to its automated vehicle development to the San Francisco-company.

If you don't know what lidar is, it is uses light to create high-resolution images that provide a more accurate view of the world than cameras or radar alone, which is crucial to the development of self-driving vehicles. But GM didn't say when the technology would be ready to carry passengers.

GM and Cruise are pursuing a Lidar-based strategy for self-driving cars.

"The successful deployment of self-driving vehicles will be highly dependent on the availability of LIDAR sensors", said Schoenfeld.

In morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, GM shares were up 26 cents at $45.20.

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

GM has been testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric cars in San Francisco and the Detroit and Phoenix areas.

  • Eleanor Harrison