Self-driving 'unicorn' Aurora buys lidar startup Blackmore

May 29, 2019 //By Peter Clarke
Self-driving 'unicorn' Aurora buys lidar startup Blackmore
Self-driving car startup Aurora Innovations Inc. (Palo Alto, Calif.) has come of the back of a funding round in February worth $530 million to acquire lidar developer Blackmore Systems and Analytics Inc. (Bozeman, Montana).

The amount paid for the lidar company was not disclosed.

Aurora has said it believes in a multi-technology approach to autonomous driving and awareness in which lidar plays a part.

Blackmore was founded in 2016 and developed frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) lidar with backing from BMW i Ventures and Toyota AI Ventures amongst others.

The system uses lasers instead of radio waves to build a three-dimensional image of the surrounding landscape and supports the simultaneous measurement of both range and velocity. This is important for reducing latency when split-second decisions may be important. Blackmore starts with photonic hardware proven in the optical fiber communications industry and then uses the advntages of FMCW's high dynamic range, single photon sensitivity, and interference immunity.

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