California has approved $8 million in tax credits for General Motors Co. that the automaker will use to boost self-driving car research in Silicon Valley.
State officials approved the credits Thursday with the understanding GM will invest $14 million in its facilities there and hire more than 1,100 new workers.
The company said its investment would help create a new research and development facility for Cruise Automation — the startup purchased last year to advance GM’s efforts on autonomous and connected vehicles.
“Expanding our team at Cruise Automation and linking them with our global engineering talent is another important step in our work to redefine the future of personal mobility,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement Thursday. “Self-driving technology holds enormous benefits to society in the form of increased safety and access to transportation. Running our autonomous vehicle program as a start-up is giving us the speed we need to continue to stay at the forefront of development of these technologies and the market applications.”
GM’s millions will help rehabilitate a brownfield site in San Francisco. The move will more than double Cruise Automation’s research and development space. Cruise workers could move in to the new location by the end of the year.
The 1,100 new hires will be added to the staff at Cruise Automation. And it bolsters GM’s presence in California.
“As autonomous car technology matures, our company’s talent needs will continue to increase,” said Cruise Automation CEO Kyle Vogt. “Accessing the world-class talent pool that the San Francisco Bay Area offers is one of the many reasons we plan to grow our presence in the state.”
GM and Cruise Automation employees are testing dozens of fully autonomous vehicles in California, Arizona and Michigan. Full-time jobs created under the credit proposal are expected to average $116,000, with minimum salaries of $59,000.
Tax credits made available to GM came through the California Competes Program that’s designed for companies “want to come, stay or grow” in the state. Previous beneficiaries include Tesla Motors, which received $15 million in credits two years ago.