In it for the long haul: teaming up with PACCAR to build and deploy self-driving trucks
Today we’re excited to share we’ve reached a significant milestone in delivering our first product, a driverless truck.
At Aurora, we’ve long said that the safest approach to building self-driving technology is by using different sensor modalities — cameras, radar, and of course, lidar. Today we’re pleased to announce that Aurora plans to acquire the industry-leading lidar company Blackmore, located in Bozeman, Montana.
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.
At Aurora, our collective experience building self-driving systems gives us 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.
And companies, of course, aren’t just about the technology — they’re about the people who build that technology. We’re thrilled to welcome the Blackmore team to Aurora. They bring deep expertise and diverse perspectives. With a fourth Aurora office located in Bozeman, Montana we are in a position to attract top talent from an even more diverse pool. We look forward to working together to deliver the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly.