7 November 2017
Princeton Lightwave acquired by Argo AI
Self-driving technology developer Argo AI LLC of Pittsburgh, PA, USA (a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company) has acquired Princeton Lightwave Inc (PLI) of Cranbury, NJ, USA, which makes lasers and indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs)-based near-infrared/shortwave-infrared (SWIR) single-photon detectors including LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors.
LiDAR sensors are crucial to creating a three-dimensional view of the world that helps autonomous vehicles find where they are on the road and detect other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, says Argo AI’s CEO Bryan Salesky in a blog posting.
The technology that underpins Princeton Lightwave’s LiDAR sensors — which already serve the commercial mapping and defense industries — can help Argo to extend the range and resolution needed to achieve self-driving capability in challenging urban environments, reckons Salesky. Princeton Lightwave’s technology also complements and expands the capability of LiDAR sensors already available to the automotive industry, he adds.
With the addition of Princeton Lightwave, Argo reckons that it is positioned to innovate in both sensor hardware and the interface between sensor and software, enabling it to achieve performance improvements that would not otherwise be possible. Princeton Lightwave’s technology can help Argo to unlock new capabilities that will aid its virtual driver system in handling object detection in challenging scenarios, such as poor weather conditions, and safely operating at high speeds in dynamic environments, believes Salesky.
Salesky says that Argo is exploring how to increase the range, resolution and field of view of LiDAR, while also looking to lower costs and manufacture these sensors at scale, and that it needs to continue making improvements through dedicated R&D aligned with its overall hardware and software strategy.
Argo’s expanded team remains focused on accelerating the development of a virtual driver system that’s mandated for SAE levels 4 and 5 autonomous driving — meaning that there’s no driver behind the wheel. By collaborating with its in-house hardware and software developers, as well as its supply base, the firm aims to create LiDAR sensors that not only meet the demanding performance required for high-volume production but also are affordable.