GM buys driverless software startup Cruise Automation
Fri 11 Mar 2016
General Motors has today confirmed its acquisition of autonomous software company Cruise Automation. The Silicon Valley-based firm, set up by former Twitch co-founder Kyle Vogt in 2013, creates auto-pilot technologies which can transform regular cars into driverless vehicles.
Following the acquisition, Cruise will be turning its focus exclusively to designing software for GM vehicles. It will continue to operate as an independent unit from its San Francisco base within the auto giant’s newly established Autonomous Vehicle Development Team.
Mark Reuss, GM’s executive vice president for global product, said that Cruise would support the company’s ambitions in the autonomous driving arena. “We intend to invest significantly to further grow the talent base and capabilities already established by the Cruise team,” he said.
While terms were not disclosed, the auto-maker said that it expects to close the deal with Cruise in the second quarter of this year.
GM has recently made some interesting moves into the autonomous sphere, purchasing assets from former ride-hailing company Sidecar in January, and establishing a $500 million (approx. £350 million) partnership with Uber-rival Lyft to develop an on-demand driverless platform over the next ten years.
GM has also formed its own personal mobility brand, Maven. Projects include a car-sharing trial in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a fleet of cars in residential blocks in New York and Chicago, a peer-to-peer service in Germany, and GM campus programmes in the U.S., Europe and China to test more opportunities.
Cruise now represents the latest strategic push for the multinational into future transport technologies. The three-year-old start-up was operating in a specific area of the market and sold its autonomous device for just $10,000. Reportedly burning through its funds, the automation specialist’s last investment round was a convertible note, amounting to $2 million.
Vogt praised GM’s dedication to autonomous technologies, calling their efforts “inspiring, deliberate, and completely in line with our vision to make transportation safer and more accessible.” He described that the partnership was a “ground-breaking and necessary step” toward commercialising autonomous vehicle technology.