BMW i Ventures, a venture capital fund that specializes in finding and growing cutting-edge technology companies that are redefining the automotive industry, has invested in Blackmore Sensors and Analytics, Inc.

The Bozeman, Montana-based Blackmore is a leading developer of frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) LIDAR for the automotive field.

The funds will be used to scale the production of Blackmore's FMWC LIDAR sensor for advanced driver assistance systems and self-driving markets. Increased production will allow Blackmore to support the growing sector of autonomous driving teams that rely on an LIDAR solution.

Low-cost LIDAR sensors are essential to enable self-driving vehicles, as lidar is a vision-based technology that allows the car to navigate safely despite various conditions. Blackmore's lidar, for example, is completely immune to interference from sunlight or headlights without the need for expensive custom filters.

According to BMW i Venture, Blackmore's FMCW lidar technology is both cost-effective and offers several competitive advantages over traditional pulsed lidar systems — paving the way for autonomous driving teams to realize their goals sooner.

"Advances in new sensor technologies, like LIDAR, are going to make cars safer, and eventually, autonomous," said BMW i Ventures partner Zach Barasz. "Blackmore has unique and innovative FMCW LIDAR technology that delivers a new dimension of data to future vehicles."