The acquisition of Cruise goes hand-in-hand with GM's partnership with ride-sharing service Lyft and the introduction of its Maven car-sharing service. According to The Verge, it's all part of GM's push to get self-driving cabs on the road.
"We've been really clear that we see the first large-scale deployment of autonomous vehicles being into a ride-share type of car, so we think that's the right first application," GM President Dan Amman (shown above, right, with Cruise co-founders Kyle Vogt and Daniel Kan) told The Verge.
Cruise's work on autonomous vehicles could best be described as shaky. The company was born from a San Francisco tech incubator and founded in 2013. According to The Verge, the Cruise's original plan would see rather bulky and expensive add-ons fitted to a select range of Audis, granting them semi-autonomous abilities not unlike Tesla's Autopilot. After recognizing that full autonomy would play a bigger role on future roads, the company shifted away from its $10,000 add-on and focused on full driverless vehicles.
According to Re/Code, snatching up Cruise will likely cost GM "over $1 billion," although an official figure wasn't published. GM expects to wrap up the acquisition by the second quarter of this year.
SAN FRANCISCO – General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) announced today it is acquiring Cruise Automation to add Cruise's deep software talent and rapid development capability to further accelerate GM's development of autonomous vehicle technology.
"Fully autonomous vehicles can bring our customers enormous benefits in terms of greater convenience, lower cost and improved safety for their daily mobility needs," said GM President Dan Ammann.
Cruise will operate as an independent unit within GM's recently formed Autonomous Vehicle Development Team led by Doug Parks, GM vice president of autonomous technology and vehicle execution, and will continue to be based in San Francisco. Founded in 2013, Cruise has moved quickly to develop and test autonomous vehicle technology in San Francisco's challenging city environment.
"GM's commitment to autonomous vehicles is inspiring, deliberate, and completely in line with our vision to make transportation safer and more accessible," said Kyle Vogt, founder of Cruise Automation. "We are excited to be partnering with GM and believe this is a ground-breaking and necessary step toward rapidly commercializing autonomous vehicle technology."
According to Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, "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."
The acquisition of Cruise is GM's latest step toward its goal of redefining the future of personal mobility. Since the beginning of the year, GM has entered into a strategic alliance with ride-sharing company Lyft; formed Maven, its personal mobility brand for car-sharing fleets in many U.S. cities, and established a separate unit for autonomous vehicle development.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter.
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