GM's Self Driving Unit Cruise Secures $1.15 Billion in New Funding

GM's Self Driving Unit Cruise Secures $1.15 Billion in New Funding

Author: Eric Walz   

GM Cruise LLC, the self-driving arm of parent General Motors, continues to attract big investments. The San Francisco-based company announced today a new $1.15 billion funding round.

The latest funding comes from existing investors GM, Japan's SoftBank Vision Fund, Honda and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates and other institutional investors. The new investment increases Cruise's post-money valuation to $19.0 billion. In the last year, Cruise has secured funding totaling $7.25 billion.

Cruise, founded in 2013, is developing self-driving technology for General Motors. The startup was bought by GM in March 2016 for more than $1 billion in cash and stock.

Cruise Automation has been working closely with GM since its acquisition, refining its self-driving technology for a rumored robotaxi service GM plans to launch in 2019 using a fleet of self-driving Chevy Bolt EVs being developed by GM and Cruise. Cruise currently operates its driverless test cars in San Francisco, Arizona and the Detroit area.

In Nov 2018, GM president Dan Ammann was appointed CEO of Cruise taking over for co-founder Kyle Vogt who was appointed CTO. Ammann served as GM's President since 2014 and was instrumental in the acquisition of Cruise, a move to help jumpstart GM's self-driving technology.

"Developing and deploying self-driving vehicles at massive scale is the engineering challenge of our generation," said Ammann in a statement. "Having deep resources to draw on as we pursue our mission is a critical competitive advantage."

GM joins rival Ford is partnering with a tech company to jumpstart development of self-driving technology. Last month, Ford Motor agreed to invest $500 million in electric truck maker Rivian, a electric vehicle start-up that is seen by many as a potential rival to electric automaker Tesla. Rivian is developing a fully electric pickup and SUV.

In June 2018, Bloomberg reported that General Motors was having early discussions with banks about various strategic options for Cruise, including a possible IPO. However, before a decision is made, GM wants to position the business for commercial success. This might include taking on Uber, Lyft or Waymo by launching a ride-hailing service using autonomous GM vehicles developed by Cruise.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
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