Self-driving startup Aurora to buy lidar company Blackmore

(Reuters) – Self-driving car startup Aurora Innovation Inc said on Thursday it would buy Montana-based Blackmore, a company that develops a detection system known as lidar, used in self-driving technology.

Aurora is among dozens of automakers and large technology companies working on self-driving car systems, and has partnerships with Byton, Hyundai Motor Co and Volkswagen to develop and test self-driving systems.

With the notable exception of Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc , most automakers have said their self-driving cars will rely on lidar.

The technology uses laser light pulses to render precise images of the environment around the car and is currently used by companies including General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo.

“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’s Chief Executive Officer Chris Urmson, who earlier led Alphabet’s self-driving program.

Toyota Motor Corp has partnered with several lidar startups, including Blackmore and Luminar, but the Japanese automaker continues to evaluate new sensing technologies.

Last week, Nissan Motor Co Ltd said it would, for now, stick to self-driving technology which uses radar sensors and cameras, avoiding lidar because of their high cost and limited capabilities.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru and Heather Somerville in San Francisco; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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