LiDAR system key to GM’s autonomous-car development

It’s been less than two months since General Motors announced its acquisition of LiDAR developer Strobe Inc., and in that time the Pasadena, CA, start-up has gone from virtual obscurity to being a driving force in the automated-vehicle segment.

Strobe co-founder and chief researcher Lute Maleki, an atomic physicist who pioneered much of the sensor technology purchased by GM for an undisclosed amount, explains the company's meteoric rise as the difference between car radio signals.

Other developers’ technology “is like AM radio”, Maleki says during an interview with WardsAuto. “Our technology is like the FM radio, and that’s not just an analogy, that’s absolutely correct, physically speaking.

“In the case of AM radio, you do amplitude modulation, detect the amplitude, change the amplitude, the intensity,” he says. With FM radio, the frequency of a signal is changed and is “much clearer, much less noisy and yet its range is longer, for the same power. Our technology is like that, whereas everything else that’s on the market currently is like the AM radio because they do amplitude and intensity detection.”

Lidar is an acronym for “light detection and ranging,” “light imaging, detection and ranging” or “light radar,” depending on whom you ask. This article first appeared in WardsAuto.

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