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Cox Enterprises to Lead $27M LiDAR Fundraiser for Autonomous Cars

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Dec. 12, 2017—Ouster yesterday announced a $27 million Series A fundraiser led by Cox Enterprises, TechCrunch reports.

Ouster’s goal is to bring affordable LiDAR sensors to autonomous vehicles around the world.

Cox Automotive, a division of Cox Enterprises, owns and offers a variety of auto services, including the well-known Kelley Blue Book and AutoTrader.com

While visible light cameras, radar, and infrared sensors have been used by various engineering teams to build a physical map around a vehicle, the key component for most autonomous car platforms is LiDAR.

As Devin described on TechCrunch in an overview earlier this year, the technology, which has been around for decades, has become one of the key linchpins to successfully building L4 and L5 fully-autonomous vehicles.

Silicon Valley-based Velodyne is essentially the only company currently making the technology for production scale. The prices for many of its sensors remain out-of-reach for most consumer applications, with some of the company’s most advanced sensors costing tens of thousands of dollars.

Founder Angus Pacala says that the price barrier is a major challenge and ultimately gets at the mission of Ouster.

“Our long-term vision is to push LiDAR from being a research product to being in every consumer automobile,” he said.

Ouster hopes that its first product, a 64-channel LiDAR sensor called OS1, which will be priced at $12,000, is the solution.

The company says that the product is dramatically lighter, smaller, and uses less power than the other competitors.

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