GM puts money on software maker to develop its self-driving car tech

General Motors Co's venture capital arm has announced an investment of millions of dollars in a US startup Oculii that develops software for radar sensors for self-driving cars, said a report by Reuters.

The General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. (Reuters)
The General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan.

This investment will allow GM to use Oculli's low-cost software to boost the resolution of radars and scale up its partially automated vehicles and fully self-driving cars, said the startup's co-founder Steven Hong. Hong stated that the move shows that the automaker is serious about the technology and is confident about radars in general. However, he declined to disclose any financial details of the collaboration.

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Many automakers are now coming up with models incorporated with autonomous technology and among them, Tesla's self-driving technology is most hyped for multiple reasons. However, the popular EV maker Tesla eliminated radar sensors from its volume models this year that rekindled questions about the safety and performance of its advanced driver assistant system, stated the report. In earlier reports, Tesla chief Elon Musk had called additional sensors like lidars and radars "crutches," doubling down on cheaper cameras and artificial intelligence for its driving automation system.

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In EVs, radars measure the distance between objects and enable the car to accelerate or brake to match its speed with that of the vehicle in front. It also works well in poor lighting and weather conditions. Hong did mention that traditional radar has low resolution and are very noisy. “But high-resolution radars are a key backup to cameras and other sensors when they fail, thus providing extra safety," he added. According to the report, he conveyed that he expected Tesla to embrace radars as prices declined.

First Published Date: 14 Sep 2021, 09:21 AM IST
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