Ouster to acquire Sense Photonics to form Ouster Automotive and establish a digital lidar powerhouse

Ouster’s mission is to increase the safety of our world and improve quality of life by bringing affordable, high-performance digital lidar technology to multiple markets. The automotive industry specifically is at the center of the autonomous revolution. Autonomy is a paradigm shift that will bring new levels of life-saving technology to the cars we drive. 

Affordable, mass-manufactured lidar sensors are one of the key enabling technologies for this progress. And commercializing lidar that can bring about that paradigm shift is the immense challenge Ouster has undertaken. 

The automotive market has some of the most aggressive performance and commercial requirements: long-range and short-range, high-resolution, small form factor, extreme reliability, and high-volume manufacturability. All of these must be delivered with a unit price in the low hundreds of dollars. 

This is why today, we’re proud to announce our plan to form Ouster Automotive following the close of our planned acquisition of Sense Photonics. We anticipate that this acquisition will accelerate Ouster’s solid-state digital lidar roadmap, drive our automotive growth, and cement our position as a digital lidar powerhouse. 

The Sense team has accomplished a tremendous amount over the past few years, designing their own digital SPAD array and VCSEL components, building their first long-range solid-state digital lidar sensor, and signing a development agreement with a major global automotive OEM. Given our shared philosophy and digital lidar technology, the combination of our two companies is a natural complement. We are thrilled to welcome Sense’s incredible team to the Ouster family following the close of the planned transaction, and together, to become a leading lidar solution for both automotive and non-automotive industries. 

It just makes Sense 

With the planned addition of the Sense Photonics team, Ouster is positioned to be a top technology and commercial partner for the automotive market. We plan to integrate Sense’s technological and commercial advancements to:

  • Establish Ouster Automotive under the leadership of current Sense Photonics CEO Shauna McIntyre and a team of key executives that we expect to join Ouster
  • Accelerate our solid-state lidar roadmap by 12+ months to bring to market a breakthrough 200-meter range solid-state lidar and our planned multi-sensor lidar suite for L2+ autonomy
  • Deliver on major development agreements and advance series production programs currently under negotiation with automotive OEMs for start of production in 2025-2026 

Expansion of Ouster’s product portfolio with digital solid-state lidar

Ouster’s and Sense’s core digital lidar architectures share the same fundamental engineering approach. We both deeply understand that developing VCSEL and SPAD-based digital lidar technology is hard. It requires years of investment to design and fabricate the core ASICs that drive the sensor. But like us, the Sense team embraced the challenge of creating solid-state digital lidar that is well positioned to meet the requirements for automotive series production.

Together, as Ouster Automotive, we plan to leverage the strength of our digital approach to deliver a multi-sensor suite of short, medium, and long-range solid-state lidar to provide a 360º surround view while hitting aggressive performance and price requirements for consumer and commercial vehicles. 

Lidar point cloud of car on a road
Rich, high-resolution point cloud, produced by Sense Photonics’s 200-meter range solid-state lidar

Realizing our solid-state digital lidar vision 

Sense Photonics’ automotive experience and solid-state digital lidar architecture perfectly complements Ouster’s manufacturing and product development expertise. Together, we are poised to become a leading technology and commercial lidar partner for decades to come. 

And to all the new faces from Sense Photonics – we’re so incredibly excited that you’re here and welcome to Ouster! This is just the beginning. 

If you are an automotive OEM or automotive Tier 1 and interested in learning more about Ouster’s planned solid-state sensor suite, please contact our dedicated automotive sales team

Forward-Looking Statements

This blog post includes various forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, which represent our management’s beliefs and assumptions concerning future events. These statements are intended to qualify for the “safe harbor” from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the terms and expected closing date for the acquisition of Sense Photonics, the benefits of the potential acquisition of Sense Photonics, Ouster’s business strategy and competitive position following the acquisition, and the establishment of Ouster Automotive and proposed leadership. Forward-looking statements give Ouster’s current expectations and projections relating to our financial condition, results of operations, plans, objectives, future performance and business. You can identify forward-looking statements by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. These statements may include words such as “anticipate”, “estimate”, “expect”, “project”, “plan”, “intend”, “believe”, “may”, “will”, “should”, “can have”, “likely” and other words and terms of similar meaning in connection with any discussion of the timing or nature of future operating or financial performance or other events. All forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those that we expected, including: Ouster’s limited operating history and history of losses; the adoption of its products and the growth of the lidar market generally; the competitive environment in which it operates; its future capital needs; its ability to adequately protect and enforce its intellectual property rights; its ability to effectively respond to evolving regulations and standards relating to applications in which its products are frequently used; its reliance on a third-party manufacturer; the timing of revenue from existing customers; uncertainties related to Ouster’s estimates of the size of the markets for its products and future revenue opportunities; and other important factors discussed in the Company’s final prospectus and definitive proxy statement, dated February 12, 2021, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), as updated by the factors disclosed in the section titled “Risk Factors” in its Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on March 15, 2021 and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC on August 10, 2021, and in other reports the Company files with or furnishes to the SEC. Any such forward-looking statements represent management’s estimates and beliefs as of the date of this blog post. While Ouster may elect to update such forward-looking statements at some point in the future, it disclaims any obligation to do so, even if subsequent events cause its views to change.