Autonomous-driving technology is getting a boost from Honda: The automaker is partnering with General Motors and Cruise, GM’s self-driving car division, to create autonomous vehicles.
In a statement, Cruise and GM explained how they are pursuing the ultimate tech quest — to "transform mobility through the large-scale deployment of autonomous vehicle technology."
More Autonomous Cars, Please
The Japanese automaker, one of the world’s largest, said it plans to work in conjunction with GM and Cruise to create a kind of "purpose-built" self-driving vehicle that can be used in a wide range of what it’s calling "use cases" and be created in large numbers to suit drivers all over the world.
Honda says it will give roughly $2 billion over the next 12 years for this global initiative, which, combined with a hefty $750 million contribution to Cruise, makes the project worth a staggering $2.75 billion.
In their statement, General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra calls the autonomous-driving initiative a logical next step in the GM-Honda relationship, given its joint interest in electric cars: "Together, we can provide Cruise with the world’s best design, engineering and manufacturing expertise, and global reach to establish them as the leader in autonomous vehicle technology – while they move to deploy self-driving vehicles at scale."
Honda Executive Vice President and Representative Director COO Seiji Kuraishi went on to say that the car maker’s decision to work with Cruise and GM was based on a number of key factors, including Cruise and GM’s demonstrated leadership in autonomous and electric vehicle technology and the fact that both GM and Cruise share Honda’s vision of creating a world that is both free of emissions and of collisions: "We will complement their strengths through our expertise in space efficiency and design to develop the most desirable and effective shared autonomous vehicle."
It’s been a banner year for Cruise. Late last spring, it received a $2.25 billion investment from SoftBank Vision Fund — a venture investment group that gives big bucks to innovative tech companies. The partnership with GM and Honda catapults Cruise’s worth to $14.6 billion.
No word yet on what the self-driving cars might look like, but knowing the creative genius involved, we’re hoping for something revolutionary.