Aurora, the autonomous vehicle company that recently acquired Uber’s self-driving subsidiary, has made another acquisition. This time it’s 5D LiDAR startup OURS Technology, which was founded in 2017 by a team from University of California-Berkeley. OURS employees are expected to join Aurora. This is the second LiDAR startup Aurora has acquired in less than two years. In May 2019, Aurora acquired Montana-based Blackmore for an undisclosed amount. Both Blackmore and OURS focused on Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) LiDAR, which emits a low-power and continuous wave of light. FMCW developers tout the technology’s ability to measure distance with a higher dynamic range and instant velocity, meaning it can gauge the speed of the objects coming to or moving away from them.
from an article in The RobotReport by Steve Crowe.
Aurora said it focused on LiDAR performance after the Blackmore acquisition. It has since developed the Aurora FirstLight LiDAR that allows its vehicles to see “well beyond 300 meters, measures velocity instantaneously, and is interference-free.” Aurora said it is now time to scale that technology, and it said the OURS acquisition will help do just that.
OURS Technology is a LiDAR-on-a-chip company. In a blog announcing the acquisition, Aurora outlined three ways in which the OURS acquisition will help:
Lower costs: OURS’ Integration and silicon photonics expertise should “dramatically” lower the cost of its next-generation FirstLight system. OURS has been able to produce four generations of LiDAR sensors in three years.
Smaller size: OURS’ LiDAR-on-chip approach replaces bulky, unreliable, and expensive mechanical parts. Aurora said this will increase the reliability of its hardware and the uptime of Aurora Driver, its autonomous driving technology.
Flexibility to customize: OURS has the ability to rapidly customize and create new capabilities on chip unlike other developers who are often limited to foundries’ off-the-shelf capabilities. This ability to customize gives us even more control of the lidar, while also providing us commercial flexibility to work with the right set of partners.
With the proprietary long-range capabilities of FirstLight, combined with our ability to scale the technology, Aurora has the only lidar solution that will unlock high-speed self-driving at scale, making FirstLight the highest performance, automotive-grade lidar available for the driverless market. And as seen by how quickly we got FirstLight onto our trucks, we have the expertise to rapidly turn prototypes into scalable products.
For the complete article on Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave lidar CLICK HERE.
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