Garmin acquires PulsedLight, adds optical distance measurement technology to portfolio

Jan. 14, 2016
SCHAFFHAUSEN, Switzerland, 14 Jan. 2016. Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN) subsidiary Garmin International Inc. has acquired PulsedLight Inc., a privately-held designer of optical distance measurement technology located in Bend, Oregon.

SCHAFFHAUSEN, Switzerland, 14 Jan. 2016. Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN) subsidiary Garmin International Inc. has acquired PulsedLight Inc., a privately-held designer of optical distance measurement technology located in Bend, Oregon.

The company makes sensor boards that are highly accurate, smaller, and more lightweight compared to most other optical distance measurement devices, according to company officials. PulsedLight developed and owns the intellectual property that enables this technology.

“Optical distance measurement technology fits in nicely with Garmin’s core competencies of location and positioning,” says Cliff Pemble, Garmin president and CEO.

“We are excited to have the support of a technology leader like Garmin. They are able to provide the resources and manufacturing expertise to integrate our technology into incredibly useful new devices that serve a multitude of markets,” affirms Dennis Corey, president and co-founder of PulsedLight.

The PulsedLight office and its design associates will be retained by Garmin International. Financial terms of the acquisition will not be released.

PulsedLight’s LIDAR-Lite, a small sensor designed to take high-performance distance measurements at a low cost, plugs into open-source controller platforms, such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi, and retails for $89. PulsedLight CTO Bob Lewis developed the proprietary algorithm, which runs on chips made in Oregon, for myriad applications, including ensuring the safe use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also called drones.

Officials at the Oregon-based optical sensor technology company set out to enable distance measurement devices to be smaller, lighter, and less expensive, while still offering high performance. LIDAR-Lite is an optical sensor that is a hybrid between standard “time of flight” sensors and radar technologies, and that employs software for signal processing rather than relying solely on hardware.

The LIDAR-Lite sends out a series of up to 255 pulses every second, each encoded with a random code; that signal can be found in the noise to produce accurate measurements from a 0 to 50 meter range. LIDAR-Lite can transmit and receive at the same time, and can work outdoors.

Garmin serves five primary business units, including automotive, aviation, fitness, marine, and outdoor recreation. For more information, visit Garmin's virtual pressroom at, contact the Media Relations department at 913-397-8200, or follow us at,,

Garmin Ltd. is incorporated in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and its principal subsidiaries are located in the United States, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

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