General Motors (GM) has said that is acquiring San Francisco start-up company, Cruise Automation. Cruise has developed an aftermarket autonomous-driving kit and is expected “to add deep software talent and rapid development capability to further accelerate GM’s development of autonomous vehicle technology.”
GM recently formed an Autonomous Vehicle Development Team, and Cruise will operate as an independent unit within that team, with its 40 or so employees continuing to be based in San Francisco.
GM global product chief Mark Reuss said of the acquisition that:
“Cruise provides our company with a unique technology advantage that is unmatched in our industry. We intend to invest significantly to further grow the talent base and capabilities already established by the Cruise team.”
Cruise co-founder Kyle Vogt added that:
“GM’s commitment to autonomous vehicles is inspiring, deliberate, and completely in line with our vision to make transportation safer and more accessible. We are excited to be partnering with GM and believe this is a ground-breaking and necessary step toward rapidly commercializing autonomous vehicle technology.”
GM said that the deal is expected to close in the second quarter but hasn’t said how much it is paying for Cruise. Reports suggest that it could be around $1 billion – rather a lot for 40 people, so there is speculation that Cruise has technology which will accelerate GM’s progress towards self-driving vehicles.
GM has been working for several years on a suite of self-driving technologies that it has tentatively named “Super Cruise.” Production was anticipated for later this year on the 2017 Cadillac CT6 sedan — but GM said in January that it has delayed the introduction of the system until sometime next year. Watch this space to see if Cruise will make a difference to the Super Cruise.