DETROIT -- General Motors has acquired lidar company Strobe Inc., a move expected to help boost self-driving vehicle production and slash cost on lidar units 99 percent.
"As the cost of our self-driving vehicles declines, we'll be able to accelerate the rate of vehicle production and more quickly roll out our technology to suburban and rural areas where ride sharing is less common today," Kyle Vogt, CEO of GM's Cruise Automation self-driving subsidiary, wrote Monday in a post on online publishing website Medium.
The value of the transaction, which occurred last week, was not disclosed. GM shares, which have been trading at or near post-bankruptcy highs for the last several days, rose 0.9 percent to close the day at $45.33.
Lidar is seen as a key technology for the mass deployment of autonomous vehicles. It uses light to create high-resolution images that provide a more accurate view of the world than cameras or radar alone.
Strobe, of Pasadena, Calif., has "quietly been building the leading next-generation," chip-scale lidars that "will significantly enhance the capabilities" of GM's self-driving cars, said Vogt.
As part of the acquisition, eleven people from Strobe, including its engineering team, will join Cruise Automation, which GM acquired in early 2016.
GM, according to company spokesman Dan Pierce, has been interested in increasing its internal lidar expertise "for many months."
"We met with the Strobe team a few months ago to gain an understanding of their expertise and decided it was in GM and Cruise's best interest to pursue an acquisition," he wrote in an email to Automotive News.
GM is currently testing more than 100 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EVs in Arizona, California and Michigan. The vehicles do not currently use Strobe's lidar technology.
Cruise Automation is now on its third-generation test vehicle, which Vogt has touted as "the first real self-driving car." It remains unclear how many of each generation of the self-driving vehicles are being tested.