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Aurora will acquire Bozeman-based Blackmore Sensors and Analytics, Inc., a leading edge Lidar company. The acquisition has been proclaimed as “another wine for the Montana photonics industry,” with many employment opportunities.

Lidar is critical for developing a reliable self-driving system that can navigate our roads more safely than a human driver. As we’ve said before, different sensor modalities have different strengths and weaknesses; thus, incorporating multiple modalities drives dramatic improvements in the reliability of the system. Based on our decades of industry experience, we’re clear that lidar, specifically with the advancements Blackmore has made, is part of the ultimate sensing system.

Blackmore’s cutting-edge technology will be instrumental in delivering self-driving technology safely and quickly.

Aurora builds self-driving systems and claims it has “an incredible advantage as we build our self-driving vehicle technology…We know what works and what doesn’t and can build on this prior knowledge, as well as the many technological advancements we’ve seen in the last few years. Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) is a next generation lidar technology that further advances our state of the art Aurora Driver.”

“Blackmore’s pioneering work in FMCW technology has illuminated the future of automotive lidar. Blackmore starts with photonic hardware proven in the optical fiber communications industry. Signal processing then maximizes FMCW’s advantages of high dynamic range, single photon sensitivity, and interference immunity—technical jargon that translates into real safety margin, chip-level scalability, and all-weather performance. Finally, the point-by-point velocity measurement enabled by FMCW will allow us to rewrite perception in robotics. Ultimately we believe that Blackmore’s technology will allow us to deliver a safer, more efficient, and more cost-effective Driver than even the best systems available on the market today.”

Bozeman will be Aurora’s fourth office.