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General Motors Buys Autonomous Driving Startup

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author photo by Doug DeMuro March 2016

General Motors is getting serious about emerging mobility technologies. After making a substantial investment in car-sharing firm Lyft and creating its own car sharing firm, Maven, GM has now purchased an autonomous driving startup: a California-based company called Cruise.

While other automakers are focusing on their own built-in autonomous driving solutions, Cruise took to the aftermarket, creating a roof-mounted device that can be installed in some existing cars in order to give them a self-running option. The device costs around $10,000, and uses radar sensors and other technology to assist with autonomous driving. As for why General Motors is interested, that should be obvious: Cruise is already far ahead in the fast-moving autonomous driving game.

"Acquiring companies instead of starting from scratch is a smart strategy and will advance GM faster down the autonomous vehicle pathway," said Rebecca Lindland, senior director of commercial insights for Kelley Blue Book.

Although General Motors has not yet announced a time line for an autonomous car, we suspect the automaker -- like most rivals -- is feverishly working to debut one within the next decade.

"The Cruise acquisition shows that GM is serious about autonomous driving, as is almost every other OEM," said Akshay Anand, Kelley Blue Book's manager of commercial insights. "Like it or not, autonomous cars are coming, and coming fast."

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General Motors Buys Autonomous Driving Startup - Autotrader