GM Pushes Farther Into Self-Driving Vehicles With Purchase of California Company

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General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) said Monday it acquired lidar technology company Strobe, an 11-person outfit located in Pasadena, California, as the nation’s largest car maker seeks more expertise in developing autonomous vehicles.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Strobe’s engineering team will join with GM’s Cruise Automation group to develop next-generation lidar solutions for self-driving vehicles.

Lidar uses a pulsed laser sensor to gauge the distance between objects. It is a vital part of autonomous vehicles’ navigation systems. Lidar uses light to create high-resolution images that provide a more accurate view of the world than cameras or radar.

Kyle Vogt, founder and chief executive officer of Cruise Automation, said in a statement:

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 a subsidiary developing self-driving technology that GM bought last year.

Julie Schoenfeld, founder and CEO of Strobe, said:

The successful deployment of self-driving vehicles will be highly dependent on the availability of lidar sensors. 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.

GM’s acquisition of Strobe follows its announcement earlier this month that the Dearborn, Michigan–based company will introduce two all-electric vehicles in the next 18 months and at least 20 all-electric vehicles by 2023.

Samsung was the latest major company to get into the self-driving business. In September the Korean consumer electronics company announced it received a permit from the state of California to conduct an autonomous program. As of September 25, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has issued autonomous vehicle testing permits to these 42 entities:

  • Volkswagen Group of America
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Waymo
  • Delphi Automotive
  • Tesla
  • Bosch
  • Nissan
  • GM Cruise
  • BMW
  • Honda
  • Ford
  • Zoox
  • Faraday & Future
  • Baidu USA
  • Wheego Electric Cars
  • Valeo North America
  • NextEV USA
  • Telenav
  • AutoX Technologies
  • Subaru
  • Udacity
  • Navya
  • UATC (Uber)
  • PlusAi
  • Nuro
  • CarOne
  • Apple
  • Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation
  • Pony.AI
  • TuSimple
  • Jingchi
  • SAIC Innovation Center
  • Almotive
  • Aurora Innovation
  • Nullmax
  • Samsung Electronics
  • Continental Automotive Systems
  • Voyage