GM Seems to have Big Plans for Cruise Automation

Cruise Automation, a subsidiary company of General Motors is now trying to expand its horizon more than ever by pooling in brilliant minds for working on their Self-Driving Segment. Acquired for $580 Million in 2016, Cruise marked GM’s entry in the Self-Driving Segment. Though GM did put much of Cruise Automation away from the limelight for quite some time, it looks as if GM does have some plans for Cruise Automation after all.

According to a report in Bloomberg, GM is currently involved in discussions on developing and implementing a set of Corporate Strategies for Cruise. These may include but are not limited to, Public Offering of Shares, perhaps a tracking stock, branching out as a company in terms of more office spaces and hiring a brilliant talent pool to work on developing and enhancing their Self-Driving Technologies.

Cruise Automation

Seattle | Source – Wiki

Cruise is currently looking into a lot of options to set up their offices in and around Seattle, mostly Downtown Seattle. Setting up their offices in Seattle makes sense because of its closeness and thereby easy connectivity with the company’s headquarters at San Francisco.
Once set and done, the next thing on their list might be hiring a pool of brilliant people. People with expertise in Machine Learning, Autonomous Navigation, Robotics, Artifical Intelligence, and Industrial Automation may find this a great opportunity to work with a fast budding Self-Driving Car company backed by General Motors, one of the most relied upon automaker in the history of the United States. A statement made by Cruise’s CEO Kyle Vogt in an email to TechCrunch can further confirm the fact that Cruise is indeed planning to hire people.

This comes as a delightful news to Seattle Residents since the opening up of Cruise Automation Offices may create a lot of opportunities for the skilled. Comparing the past statistics, the company has increased its size from just 40 employees to 1100 within a span of two years. If the past numbers are any indication, we can expect a considerable amount of opportunities to be created for Seattle’s brightest.

Unlike what people may expect from Cruise Automation in starting their test rides in Seattle and nearby areas, it is highly likely that they may not yet deploy their Autonomous Cars in the streets of Seattle. Seattle may mostly be used as an Information or Research center initially. This makes perfect sense as Seattle has no shortage of technically Savvy Talents which Cruise requires for developing Self-Driving Technology.

Cruise Automation also seems to be doing really good in terms of getting funding for its operations. The company recently received two notable rounds of funding from investors.
After these two rounds of funding, Cruise Automation is now valued at nearly $14.6 Billion against its valuation of $11 Billion before the funding rounds. SoftBank has decided to invest a whopping 2.25 Billion Dollars into Cruise Automation. The funding will be provided in two rounds, the first one at 900 million dollars. The second phase funding amounting to 1.35 Billion Dollars will be released once the Autonomous Cars are prepped up for use. The fund will also enable SoftBank to hold around 19.6% share in Cruise Automation.

Cruise Automation

The second notable funding that came in around four months after SoftBank’s Funding was from Honda. Honda has pledged to invest nearly $2 Billion into Cruise. This will start with Honda immediately releasing a fund of $750 Million. The rest of the funds will be released over a period of 12 years across different time frames.

According to a tweet by Cruise Automation, the partnership among Cruise, GM and Honda will aid in creating a New Purpose-Built Autonomous Vehicle. This Vehicle was also quoted as a Space-Efficient Autonomous Vehicle that could minimize congestion on crowdy streets (minimizing congestion being the purpose).

With the recent rounds of funding, implementation of various strategic plans by GM, and the creation of a brilliant talent pool, it is quite clear that Cruise Automation is investing heavily to deepen its root in the Self-Driving Car Segment. All these steps prove useful since it will be competing against some of the most established players such as Waymo and Tesla. GM Cruise will have to really hit hard on the pedal if they are to cope with its competitors, who by the way are far very far ahead.

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