GM's Self-Driving Unit Acquires Pasadena Tech Company


Vogt did not disclose financial terms, but said 11 full-time Strobe employees would join Cruise as part of the deal.

"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", said Kyle Vogt, founder and CEO, Cruise Automation.

"Driving in San Francisco is nearly nothing like driving in the suburbs, or other places where self-driving cars are tested", Vogt said in Detroit.

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. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has famously touted LIDAR as "unnecessary" in the context of an autonomous vehicle due to its high cost. "Strobe's LIDAR sensors provide both accurate distance and velocity information, which can be checked against similar information from a RADAR sensor for redundancy".

Of course, when Cruise sold to GM previous year, it portrayed itself as a "full stack" self-driving company that could successfully design and build all the necessary components.

Tesla has balked at the cost of Lidar and is using cameras and sensors instead.

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

Vogt asserts that radar can operate under more challenging weather conditions, however it lacks the precision needed when making critical maneuvers at speed. And by buying a company that already builds LiDAR technology, GM could bring autonomous technology to market faster than if it developed its own tech from scratch.

"The successful deployment of self-driving vehicles will be highly dependent on the availability of LIDAR sensors", Julie Schoenfeld, Strobe's CEO, said in a statement.

GM shares have risen more than 20% in the past month, to $45.26 in afternoon trading Monday.