In an effort to boost self-driving technology in its cars, Ford Motor Co. has acquired Michigan-based robotics company, Quantum Signal. The company has previously produced mobile robots for its clients, which includes the United States military.
Quantum Signal specializes in building remote control software for robotic vehicles. It is also known to have a highly regarded simulated testing and development environment for autonomous and remotely controlled robotic systems. That being said, the robotics company could surely prove to be useful in developing self-driving cars for Ford.
In a recent blog post shared by Randy Visintainer, chief technical officer of Ford’s autonomous vehicle division, the automaker said that it has been following Quantum Signal closely for all the work it has done. Ford also said that it will employ its experience in developing real-time simulation and algorithms on autonomous vehicle control systems to start work on its self-driving vehicles as well as a transportation-as-a-service platform and hardware and software related to both.
The acquisition suggests that Ford needs talents capable of working on the technology and without the need for the automaker’s meddling. It also appears to be looking for a way to address specific challenges in developing road-worthy self-driving cars, particularly perception systems and virtual testing environments.
However, Ford also made it clear that the company wants to “preserve” Quantum Signal’s own “unique culture,” emphasizing that it is the same onboarding process Ford did when it acquired the Israeli computer vision and machine learning company, SAIPS, in 2016.
Founded in 1999, Quantum Signal has managed to maintain a low profile despite developing several high-profile software for its clients in the past. The company previously worked with the U.S. military for which it has developed a software to remotely control robotic vehicles from thousands of miles away. It also has significant experience with sensors that allow robotic vehicles to “see” their environment, a technology seen essential in the development of Ford’s self-driving cars.