Cruise COO, Daniel Kan (L), Cruise founder and CEO Kyle Vogt (C), and GM president Dan Ammann (R).
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) is acquiring San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle technology startup Cruise Automation. The deal is valued at “north of $1 billion” in a combination of cash and stock, according to Fortune. Founded in 2013 by Kyle Vogt, Cruise has moved quickly to develop and test autonomous vehicle technology in San Francisco’s challenging city environment. Previously, Vogt was a co-founder at Justin.tv, Socialcam (acquired by Autodesk), and Twitch (acquired by Amazon). He studied computer science and electrical engineering at MIT. The startup had raised nearly $20 million to date from investors including Spark Capital, Maven Ventures, Founder Collective and Y Combinator’s Sam Altman. Its most recent post-money valuation was reportedly $90 million. “GM’s commitment to autonomous vehicles is inspiring, deliberate, and completely in line with our vision to make transportation safer and more accessible,” said Vogt. “We are excited to be partnering with GM and believe this is a ground-breaking and necessary step toward rapidly commercializing 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 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,” commented GM’s EVP Global Product Development Mark Reuss. 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 deal is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2016. 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. Cruise has built a highway autopilot kit or system which can be installed on an existing vehicle. It uses sensors and advanced machine vision technology to keep drivers in their lanes and at a safe distance from the car in front of them.]]>