BMW i-Ventures Invests in Blackmore Sensors and Analytics for LiDAR Technology
【Summary】Blackmore Sensors and Analytics, Inc., a developer of frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) lidar for the automotive industry, announced today that it has raised $18 million in a Series B funding round led by BMW i Ventures, the venture capital arm of BMW.
Bozeman, MT — Blackmore Sensors and Analytics, Inc., a Montana based developer of frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) lidar for the automotive industry, announced today that it has raised $18 million in a Series B funding round led by BMW i Ventures, the venture capital arm of BMW. Additional participants in the investment round include Toyota AI Ventures, Millennium Technology Value Partners and Next Frontier Capital.
"Advances in new sensor technologies, like lidar, are going to make cars safer and, eventually, autonomous," said BMW i Ventures partner Zach Barasz. "Blackmore has unique and innovative FMCW lidar technology that delivers a new dimension of data to future vehicles."
Low-cost lidar sensors are required to enable self-driving vehicles. In addition to being more cost-effective, Blackmore's FMCW lidar technology has several competitive advantages over traditional pulsed lidar systems, enabling autonomous driving teams to achieve their goals faster.
Blackmore's FMCW Lidar Technology
A typical frequency-modulated (FM) lidar system sends out lasers of different wavelengths, or colors. When a stationary object reflects one of those lasers, the wavelength remains unchanged and the receiver can easily extract range information.
However, if that object is moving, the object will cause a Doppler shift to the FM waves—a change in the wavelength of the laser it reflects back. This returning laser contains information about both the object's range and its velocity—unfortunately they're entangled and difficult for the receiver to extract, which is what Blackmore's core technology addresses.
To make the FM lidar work, Blackmore developed a system that extracts the Doppler shifts, to determine the range and velocity information of an object, such as another vehicle. Blackmore says it has spent years proving the technology on mission-critical defense applications.
By supplying velocity information, Blackmore's lidar can help an autonomous vehicle understand much more details about its environment. For example, it can sense if the car in front of it is going the same speed, or if it's traveling faster. More importantly, it can know instantaneously when that car ahead stops and prevent you from running into the back of it.
With Blackmore's lidar, the person's color is yellow when stationary and changes from red to blue depending on which direction and speed they are running
"Perception is critical to the perception-prediction-planning automated driving stack, and we're excited to see the innovations that Blackmore is bringing to the top of this stack," said Jim Adler, managing director of Toyota AI Ventures. "Blackmore's groundbreaking FMCW lidar technology is designed to eliminate interference, improve long-range performance, and support both range and velocity — a triple threat to make autonomous driving safer."
According to Dr. Randy Reibel, Blackmore's CEO, it is that last capability that differentiates Blackmore's sensor from its competitors. "Having the ability to measure both the speed and the distance to any object gives self-driving systems more information to navigate safely," said Reibel. "Blackmore provides software and analytics so that its customers can get the most out of the FMCW lidar sensors."
Blackmore will use the investment to scale the production of its FMCW lidar sensor for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and self-driving markets. Increased production capacity will allow Blackmore to scale to support the growing industry demand for lidar, as well as the growing sector of autonomous driving teams demanding a superior lidar solution for their self-driving development vehicles.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
Self-driving Startup AutoX Applies for a Permit to Test its Vehicles Without a Human Backup Driver in California
General Motors & LG Chem Are Investing up to $2.3 Billion in New EV Battery Joint Venture
Hyundai Motor Co is Investing $52 Billion in Electric & Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility Services by 2025
Tesla Rival Lucid Motors Hosts an Official 'Ground-Building' Event for its New $1 Billion Arizona Factory
Polestar Enters Final Prototype Phase Before Production of the Mass-Market Electric Polestar 2
BMW to Build a New Auto Plant in China with Great Wall Motor to Produce the Electric MINI
With 200,000 Reservations Since Last Week, Tesla’s New Cybertruck Ignites Interest in Electric Pickups
London Revokes Uber’s License for the Second Time Citing a ‘Pattern of Failure’ Over Rider Safety
- Electric Truckmaker Rivian Receives $350 Million Investment From Cox Automotive
- EPA Threatens to Take Away Billions in Highway Funding Over Air Quality in California
- Waymo CEO Says it Might Deploy its Self-Driving Technology in the Trucking Industry
- Uber Spreads its Autonomous Program to Dallas
- Chinese Electric Vehicle Startup Xpeng Motors Raises $400 Million in Series C Funding
- Hyundai Develops the World’s First Active Noise Cancelling Technology for Passenger Vehicles
- J.D. Power Study Finds New Car Owners Disable High-Tech Features
- Mazda Introducing its First EV Next Month
- Electric Car Prices Finally Beginning to Trickle Down
- Chinese Automaker Geely Invests in Volocopter, Aims to Bring Urban Air Mobility to China