GM buys Cruise Automation to develop autonomous tech

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. on Friday said it has acquired California-based Cruise Automation to help it develop autonomous vehicle software and test driverless vehicles in city environments.

The 3-year-old technology company will act as an independent unit within GM’s newly-created 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. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter; terms were not disclosed.

“Fully autonomous vehicles can bring our customers enormous benefits in terms of greater convenience, lower cost and improved safety for their daily mobility needs,” GM President Dan Ammann said in a statement.

Cruise uses a small team of engineers to quickly develop and test driverless technology on San Francisco’s city streets. GM plans to invest significantly to grow the company’s talent base and capabilities.

“GM’s commitment to autonomous vehicles is inspiring, deliberate, and completely in line with our vision to make transportation safer and more accessible,” Kyle Vogt, co-founder of Cruise Automation, said in a statement. “We are excited to be partnering with GM and believe this is a ground-breaking and necessary step toward rapidly commercializing autonomous vehicle technology.”

The Cruise acquisition is the latest in a number of recent moves GM has made to transform itself into a mobility company.

Since the start of the year, GM announced it was investing $500 million in the ride-sharing service Lyft; launched its own Zipcar-like car-sharing service in Ann Arbor called Maven; and established a separate unit for autonomous vehicle development.

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