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.
Strobe will work with GM's Cruise Automation team in San Francisco to develop the next generation of laser sensors called Lidar. Cruise's fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Bolts is now testing on the crowded streets of San Francisco, a move that GM believes will help it bring autonomous cars to market faster.
While GM continues to charge forward with implementing LIDAR technology into its self-driving program, the company also complements its technology with radar sensors to create a fault-tolerant sensing suite.
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Deal terms were not disclosed, and GM did not immediately respond an inquiry about details. 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.
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. The company says Strobe technology will reduce the cost of the vehicles while speeding up large-scale deployment. Most autonomous-vehicle developers use lidar in conjunction with radar and cameras to recognize other vehicles, street signs, pedestrians and other objects. GM's Director of autonomous vehicle integration has recently spoken up against Musk's narrative that Tesla Autopilot will be fully autonomous and capable of piloting a auto from California to NY on its own by the end of the year.
GM and Cruise are pursuing a Lidar-based strategy for self-driving cars.