Cruise Automation - Chevrolet Bolt EV

Cruise Automation - Chevrolet Bolt EV

The automaker is one step closer to making self-driving cars a reality.

General Motors hopes to take bigger steps in the autonomous world, and to help make that happen the automaker has acquired California-based Strobe, Inc.

And no, this isn’t a company dedicated to strobe lights for Halloween parties, but it’s actually not that far off – Strobe specializes in LiDAR technology, something which is quickly becoming a key component of autonomous systems for automobiles. Strobe engineers will become part of GM's Cruise Automation team.

“The successful deployment of self-driving vehicles will be highly dependent on the availability of LiDAR sensors,” said Julie Schoenfeld, Founder and CEO, Strobe, Inc. “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.”

Unlike radar systems that use radio waves to “see” an area, LiDAR uses laser pulses to generally accomplish the same task. The difference, however, is that LiDAR can create a far more detailed picture of its surroundings, which of course allows for more accurate processing of information. With a clearer picture of everything from cars to the road and pedestrians, LiDAR systems will play a pivotal role in the current and future development of autonomous cars.

That’s a segment GM hopes to lead. Last month, the Cruise Automation team unveiled what the automaker says is the world’s first autonomous car equipped with the necessary safety and redundancy systems required for operation without a driver. This alone isn’t ground breaking, but GM says the car is also able to be mass-produced, which brings us that much closer to driverless cars on the road.

“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.

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