GM Enhances Self-Driving Car Effort With Deal for Strobe

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The nation's largest auto maker by sales said it bought Strobe Inc., a Pasadena, Calif. -based startup with 11 employees.

GM plans to merge Strobe with its Cruise Automation unit. Today, GM took another step forward by purchasing Strobe, a light detection and ranging technology company.

General Motors has announced the acquisition of lidar technology company Strobe, which will help GM's self-driving auto startup, Cruise Automation further advance the development of its self-driving vehicle. Terms of the Strobe acquisition were not disclosed.

The company's developed a new microchip Lidar system would significantly enhance the capabilities of the self-driving cars GM was developing, Vogt said during conference call with reporters.

Lidar uses lasers to measure the distance of objects in the car's field of vision.

GM purchased Cruise Automaker for $1 billion previous year and then basically turned over the keys to its automated vehicle development to the San Francisco-company.

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. Many self-driving cars use multiple lidar units, in addition to radar and cameras. But GM didn't say when the technology would be ready to carry passengers.

By reducing the entire sensor down to a single chip, Strobe's system should reduce the cost of each LIDAR on its self-driving cars by 99 percent, he said. 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 doled out more than $1 billion to buy Cruise Automation in March 2016, forming the core of its autonomous vehicle strategy. The vehicle will soon join Cruise's testing fleets in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Detroit.

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