Autonomous Vehicles

GM's Cruise Automation picks up another $1.15 billion investment

The money comes from a number of institutional investors.

Aside from the lidar emitters up top, and the livery on the side, you'd have a hard time telling this Bolt EV apart from a regular one.

Cruise Automation

Cruise Automation, an AV startup with GM's backing, has said in the past that it wants to double its workforce in 2019, and with a massive new investment, it's one step closer to reality.

Cruise Automation announced on Tuesday that it has received an equity investment of $1.15 billion. The money comes from a group of institutional investors including T. Rowe Price, General Motors, Honda and SoftBank Vision Fund. This investment has boosted Cruise's valuation to $19 billion, and it's raised $7.25 billion in capital since its founding in 2013.

Considering what Cruise intends to launch next, the company can use all the money it can scrounge up. Cruise intends to introduce a self-driving taxi service, similar to Waymo One, and in order for that to happen, it needs to expand. To that end, Cruise hopes to hire some 1,000 people over the course of the year.

The startup's service will likely use modified Chevrolet Bolt EVs rolling off the same line in Michigan as the regular Bolt EV. GM has been building them at Lake Orion since 2017, adding the hardware and software that converts these cars from regular EVs to vehicles capable of running Cruise's autonomous development kit.

That's not all Cruise is cooking up, either. After Honda made a $750 million equity investment in Cruise late last year, the two companies announced that they would join forces to develop a unique autonomous vehicle for an unspecified "global deployment." It's unclear if this would be part of Cruise's robotaxi service, but it doesn't seem likely, given the length of vehicle development. But when it comes to future AV ride-sharing schemes, you might find something like it on a street near you.