General Motors today said its “latest step toward its goal of redefining the future of personal mobility” involves acquisition of a San Francisco based startup specializing in autonomous driving technology.
The company is Cruise Automation, and General Motors said it will continue to invest heavily in the company which gives it a leg up on software talent and rapid development capability.
“Cruise provides our company with a unique technology advantage that is unmatched in our industry,” said Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “We intend to invest significantly to further grow the talent base and capabilities already established by the Cruise team.”
The move follows a recent strategic alliance with Lyft, a ride-sharing company, to form “Maven,” as a personal mobility brand for U.S. car-sharing fleets, and today’s news adds to the shift by GM in personal mobility.
“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 (pictured above right, next to Cruise Automation co-founders Kyle Vogt (center) and Daniel Kan (left).
Cruise was founded by former MIT student a Kyle Vogt in 2013 and last year began selling systems for $10,000 that can allow some late-model Audis to run in an autopilot mode on the highway.
The roof-mounted system employs radar sensors and other hardware which sends signals to in-car actuators which control the car’s steering, brakes and throttle.
Cruise will remain in San Francisco, said GM, working as a separate business unit within GM’s Autonomous Development Team established this year by Doug Parks, GM vice president of autonomous technology and vehicle execution.
“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.”