Self-Driving Company Aurora Is Acquiring Lidar Developer Blackmore

By Amit Chowdhry ● May 28, 2019
  • Self-driving company Aurora Innovation is acquiring Montana-based lidar company Blackmore
  • Aurora has partnerships with auto companies like Byton, Hyundai, and Volkswagen

Self-driving company Aurora Innovation announced it is acquiring Montana-based Blackmore — which is a company that develops detection systems known as lidar. Lidar is used in self-driving vehicle technology.

Aurora is known for having partnerships with companies like Byton, Hyundai, and Volkswagen for developing and testing self-driving systems. Nearly all self-driving vehicles use Lidar with the exception of Tesla Motors.

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Lidar uses laser light pulses for rendering precise images of the area around a vehicle. This technology is also used by General Motors (GM), Ford Motor Company, and Alphabet’s Waymo. And Toyota is partnered with several lidar companies including Blackmore and Luminar.

“Lidar is critical for developing the safest and most reliable self-driving system, one that can navigate our roads more safely than a human driver,” said Aurora CEO Chris Urmson via Reuters.

Urmson was previously headed up Alphabet’s self-driving unit. In December 2016, Urmson departed from Waymo and was succeeded by current Waymo CEO John Krafcik.

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Several months later, Urmson co-founded Aurora with Sterling Anderson (known for launching Autopilot at Tesla Motors) and Drew Bagnell (former autonomy architect and perception lead at Uber’s Advanced Technology Center).

Aurora has raised $620 million in venture funding since it was founded (Crunchbase). Earlier this year, Aurora had raised $90 million in venture funding from Greylock Partners and Index Ventures. And LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman joined Aurora’s board.

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Blackmore Sensors — which was founded by CEO Randy Reibel, CTO Stephen Crouch, VP of Analytics Jim Curry, and Trenton Berg — raised a little over $21 million in funding since it was founded.