Self-Driving Startup Aurora Acquires LiDAR Company Blackmore as the Argument about LiDAR Relevancy Heats Up

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2Q 2019 | IN-5519


Aurora Acquires LiDAR Company Blackstone


Self-driving startup Aurora announced last month that it would be acquiring Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) developer Blackmore for an undisclosed fee. Aurora is best known for its leadership team, which consists of Chris Urmson, who previously led the driverless-car project at Google; Sterling Anderson, who ran Tesla’s autopilot team; and Drew Bagnell, who helped form Uber’s Advanced Technology Group. Although Aurora’s work in autonomy has been masked in secrecy, its last funding round of US$530 million attracted investment from Amazon. 

Blackmore, meanwhile, has attracted investments from BMW and Toyota, highlighting its leading role in LiDAR development. The company differentiates itself from other vendors in the space through its deep ties to the optical telecom industry. The company uses Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) LiDAR as opposed to the traditional Time-of-Flight (ToF) technologies used by most technology providers. The advantage of this technology is the addition of more robust sensing as well as the abilit…

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