General Motors came another step closer to producing self-driving cars when it announced on Monday that it had acquired the laser-imaging technology (LIDAR) startup Strobe. It folded Strobe into its Cruise Automation subsidiary, tasked with developing autonomous vehicles.
Currently, LIDAR is believed by many experts to be crucial for self-driving cars. Using light to create high-resolution images, LIDAR offers a more detailed view of the car’s surroundings than cameras or radar-based sensors alone. Strobe’s LIDAR engineering talent and drawer full of patents should give Cruise Automation a leg up in LIDAR development. GM believes the acquisition will not only hasten the next generation of LIDAR technology, but the deployment of self-driving cars, as well.
Cruise recently announced the Chevrolet Bolt-based vehicles it uses as self-driving test mules are already equipped with all the sensors and redundant equipment needed for it to operate autonomously, making it the first mass-producible car capable of operating without a driver.