Teledyne Technologies Incorporated will acquire FLIR Systems in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $8.0 billion. Both companies are producing sensor technologies which are used in robots and autonomous vehicles.
At the core of both companies is proprietary sensor technologies. Their business models are also similar: they each provide sensors, cameras and sensor systems. In the announcement of the merger they claim that their technologies and products are complementary with minimal overlap, having imaging sensors based on different semiconductor technologies for different wavelengths.
FLIR for example provides Zoox with thermal imaging cameras for their robotaxi. This sensing technology performs the complex task of detecting and classifying roadway objects in challenging lighting conditions. Thermal cameras add additional layers of safety through increased situational awareness and redundancy as part of complex sensor suites, ranging from radar to LIDAR to visible cameras.
Although thermal imaging is a more recent sensing modality in autonomy, mobility innovators, like Zoox, have come to realize its benefits for improving safety. Thermal imaging is a passive sensing modality that does not require illumination and performs equally well in bright sun glare, headlight glare, and complete darkness, while offering additional awareness in adverse weather conditions such as fog, smoke, rain and snow.
In short, by using thermal imaging, ADAS vehicles can recognize and adapt to these changing conditions quickly, and as a result, improve the safety across all levels of autonomy, including automatic emergency braking (AEB). This level of safety is crucial for all occupants and other road users, especially pedestrians and bicyclists that can be more difficult to spot in crowded urban environments, to help avoid injury or potential fatalities.
“FLIR’s commitment to innovation spanning multiple sensing technologies has allowed our company to grow into the multi-billion-dollar company it is today,” said Earl Lewis, Chairman of FLIR. “With our new partner’s platform of complementary technologies, we will be able to continue this trajectory, providing our employees, customers and stockholders even more exciting momentum for growth. Our Board fully supports this transaction, which delivers immediate value and the opportunity to participate in the upside potential of the combined company.”
Jim Cannon, President and Chief Executive Officer of FLIR, said, “We could not be more excited to join forces with Teledyne through this value-creating transaction. Together, we will offer a uniquely complementary end-to-end portfolio of sensory technologies for all key domains and applications across a well-balanced, global customer base. We are pleased to be partnering with an organization that shares our focus on continuous innovation and operational excellence, and we look forward to working closely with the Teledyne team as we bring our two companies together to capitalize on the important opportunities ahead.”