As tech giants like Baidu and Google refine the technology to make fully autonomous cars feasible, one important barrier still stands between research and mass production: affordability.

On Tuesday, Baidu and Ford announced a $150 million USD joint investment in Velodyne LiDAR, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based company that develops laser-based LiDAR (Light Imaging, Detection, and Ranging) sensors, which are used for mapping, localization, object identification, and collision avoidance. According to Velodyne, the latest round of funding will go towards cost-reduction and scaling the company’s technology.

“This investment will accelerate the cost reduction and scaling of Velodyne’s industry-leading LiDAR sensors, making them widely accessible and enabling mass deployment of fully autonomous vehicles,” stated David Hall, founder and CEO, Velodyne LiDAR, in a press release.

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Eva Xiao

Eva Xiao is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. Contact her at eva.xiao@technode.com or evawxiao (wechat & twitter).