A road trip to Pittsburgh to show off self-driving tech — and show up the competition

Normally there are only four companies, plus Carnegie Mellon University, driving cars around Pittsburgh with funny looking racks of sensors on the roof.

But on this sunny Thursday afternoon, a Montana-based company was showing off its fancy sensors to journalists in Pittsburgh — literally dropping off a Post-Gazette team before picking up some television reporters — in a 2019 BMW X5 with tinted windows for added secrecy.

The company, called Blackmore, has a shiny, new toy for the autonomous vehicles industry and beyond: an improved lidar sensor that could improve computer vision.

Judging by this media tour across the country to show off some geeky sensors — plus the fact that an entire lawsuit transpired between Uber and Google’s self-driving unit, Waymo — lidar is a pretty huge deal.