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Self-driving startup Aurora to buy lidar company Blackmore

Credit: REUTERS/HEATHER SOMERVILLE

Self-driving car startup Aurora Innovation Inc said on Thursday it would buy Montana-based Blackmore, a company that develops a detection system known as lidar, used in self-driving technology.

May 23 (Reuters) - Self-driving car startup Aurora Innovation Inc said on Thursday it would buy Montana-based Blackmore, a company that develops a detection system known as lidar, used in self-driving technology.

Aurora is among dozens of automakers and large technology companies working on self-driving car systems, and has partnerships with Byton, Hyundai Motor Co 005380.KS and Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE to develop and test self-driving systems.

With the notable exception of Elon Musk's Tesla Inc TSLA.O, most automakers have said their self-driving cars will rely on lidar.

The technology uses laser light pulses to render precise images of the environment around the car and is currently used by companies including General Motors Co GM.N, Ford Motor Co F.N and Alphabet Inc's GOOGL.O Waymo.

"Lidar is critical for developing the safest and most reliable self-driving system, one that can navigate our roads more safely than a human driver," said Aurora's Chief Executive Officer Chris Urmson, who earlier led Alphabet's self-driving program.

Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T has partnered with several lidar startups, including Blackmore and Luminar, but the Japanese automaker continues to evaluate new sensing technologies.

Last week, Nissan Motor Co Ltd 7201.T said it would, for now, stick to self-driving technology which uses radar sensors and cameras, avoiding lidar because of their high cost and limited capabilities.

(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru and Heather Somerville in San Francisco; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

((SanjanaSitara.Shivdas@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, outside U.S. +91 80 6749 1642; Reuters Messaging: sanjanasitara.shivdas.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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