GM's Self-Driving Unit Acquires Pasadena Tech Company

GM's Self-Driving Unit Acquires Pasadena Tech Company

The particularly attractive thing about Strobe, according to Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt, is that it has successfully reduced the LIDAR array down to a single chip, which will help reduce production costs by almost 100 percent.

Cruise is now operating a self-driving taxi service in San Francisco, but only for its own employees.

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.

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The tech firm's engineering talent will join GM's Cruise Automation team to work on the auto, GM announced in a release.

Vogt says that decreasing costs for autonomous vehicles will be key in deploying them across a range of different areas, including in the suburbs and outside of major cities, where now the economics would make it hard to deploy something like an autonomous ride hailing service. The technology provided not just a distance measurement for an object on the road - vehicles, people and objects - but also measured that object's velocity. That number may apply to 2018 too.

With more affordable and higher accuracy LIDAR sensors coming to market, automakers that are looking to transition to all-electric fleets are assessing the strategic value with investing into self-driving technology. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has famously touted LIDAR as "unnecessary" in the context of an autonomous auto due to its high cost.

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"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.

Cruise Automation's self-driving cars are about to get a new set of eyes.

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. In a post on Medium, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt writes that LIDAR-on-a-chip will drop the price "by 99 percent" versus other LIDAR systems.

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Fully self-driving vehicles are expected to hit the market in a limited form by around 2020.