The Cruise Automation startup will be acquired by General Motors, the automaker from Detroit announced.

GM has decided it would be best to buy the company that has developed an aftermarket self-driving system to accelerate its progress on autonomous cars.

We are talking about Cruise Automation, a company that has created a hardware and software solution that was presented as a system that can be added to a standard car and turn it into a semi-autonomous or even a fully autonomous vehicle.

This is not GM’s only acquisition in the field of personal mobility, as the carmaker has entered into a collaboration with ride-sharing company Lyft, and formed Maven, a personal mobility brand for car-sharing fleets across the United States of America.

GM even has a separate unit for autonomous vehicle development, so their intentions on the matter are more than marketing bragging rights.

The corporation from Detroit will fully acquire Cruise Automation, a startup founded by Kyle Vogt, an engineer that is also responsible for the development of Twitch, the streaming video solution for gamers.

Vogt is considered a genius in the world of startups, as the Cruise Automation venture is a project he developed from scratch and is the second multi-billion dollar project he sells in just a matter of years. Mr. Vogt is praised by the people who worked with him for being able to develop his projects in both hardware and software, a feat that is becoming rarer these days.

General Motors has not specified how much they will pay to buy the startup, but industry analysts estimate the deal to be worth over a billion dollars. GM considers that self-driving vehicles will bring enormous benefits to their customers, and introducing them to the market as soon as possible will favor the company.

It is fair to note that GM is not the only company out of the Detroit Big Three that has heavily invested in the field of self-driving cars. Ford has a broad agenda in this area and is already working with Google and Microsoft on the matter. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will probably pick a tech partner soon, but they have not announced anything yet. Their semi-autonomous features are currently designed in-house.

 

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11 MARCH 2016

GM TO ACQUIRE CRUISE AUTOMATION TO ACCELERATE AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE DEVELOPMENT
11/03/16 from General Motors
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.

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world’s largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.

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