Quantum Signal has been bought by Ford after two decades of quietly producing technologies for robotic applications including autonomous driving.

Quantum Signal, a US-based robotics technology spinout of University of Michigan, wa purchased by car manufacturer Ford for an undisclosed sum on Tuesday.

Founded in 1999 but largely working behind closed doors, Quantum Signal has been developing hardware and software components for robotic systems, including simulators, sensors, perception technologies and control interfaces.

The spinout’s programs include a military partnership aimed at designing algorithm-powered systems which would control autonomous vehicles from thousands of miles away.

Quantum Signal has also devised a simulator that helps test autonomous vehicle designs by projecting a virtual replica of the vehicle driving within artificial environments.

Ford will now leverage Quantum Signal’s expertise for its autonomous vehicle program, in particular harnessing the spinout’s knowledge of real-time simulation, algorithms, robotics, vehicle controls, sensors and perception.

Quantum Signal grew out of work conducted at University of Michigan’s College of Engineering by co-founders William Williams, then a professor in the department, and Mitchell Rohde, then a graduate student.

The spinout has not publicly announced details of previous funding.