Ouster to Acquire Sense Photonics

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Lidar sensor developer Ouster will acquire Sense Photonics, developer of a digital solid-state lidar sensor for automotive series production. Following the close of the acquisition, which is expected to happen in the fourth quarter of this year, Ouster will establish Ouster Automotive as a division within the company structure, focused on driving mass-market adoption of digital lidar in consumer and commercial vehicles.

Ouster will purchase 100% of Sense Photonics capital stock for 9.5 million shares of Ouster common stock. Approximately 80 Sense employees are expected to join Ouster after the closing.

Ouster Automotive will be led by current Sense Photonics CEO Shauna McIntyre.

In a press release, Ouster said it expects the acquisition and new division to accelerate it solid-state roadmap by more than 12 months, through Sense’s three-year and $24 million investment in CMOS digital lidar. The acquisition will further enable Ouster to integrate Sense’s 200-m-range digital solid-state lidar into Ouster’s planned multisensor lidar suite that the company said will meet the performance and price requirements for Level 2 and above autonomy.

The deal will also advance five series production programs, collectively worth over $1 billion in potential revenue, that are currently under negotiation with automotive OEMs for start of production in 2025-2026, according to the press release.

By acquiring more than 100 pending patents and an exclusive license to over 250 patents from Sense, Ouster said is expects to strengthen its market position with deep engineering, semiconductor, and automotive expertise.

“Combining Ouster’s digital expertise and maturity in product development and manufacturing with Sense’s advanced solid-state digital lidar silicon is expected to accelerate the delivery of our multisensor digital lidar suite for the consumer ADAS market,” Ouster CEO Angus Pacala said. “Ouster’s digital technology has enabled us to pull ahead in the industrial, robotics, and smart infrastructure markets, and emerge as a top player in automotive.”

Published: October 2021
Lidar, short for light detection and ranging, is a remote sensing technology that uses laser light to measure distances and generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape and characteristics of objects and surfaces. Lidar systems typically consist of a laser scanner, a GPS receiver, and an inertial measurement unit (IMU), all integrated into a single system. Here is how lidar works: Laser emission: A laser emits laser pulses, often in the form of rapid and repetitive laser...
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