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GM bolsters autonomous-driving division with Cruise Automation acquisition

It's but one more step in automakers' inexorable march toward self-driving cars.

The RiverWalk and Wintergarden entrance to the GM Renaissance Center, along the Detroit River in Detroit, Michigan, USA, June 23, 2005. (General Motors/John F. Martin)
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Corporate acquisitions are typically about as exciting as binge-watching C-SPAN. But occasionally, a purchase can help contribute to an exciting new field. That's why GM's acquisition of Cruise Automation is worth talking about.

Prior to the GM buyout, Cruise Automation started selling an aftermarket automated-driving system that would add autopilot-like highway driving to certain late-model Audi vehicles. At $10,000, it wasn't cheap, but it did include radar sensors and plenty of other hardware bits that controlled the car's steering and brakes.

This isn't a complete absorption of the company. Cruise Automation's San Francisco office will continue to serve as its headquarters, and it will work as a sort of independent entity within GM's larger Autonomous Vehicle Development Team.

"Cruise provides our company with a unique technology advantage that is unmatched in our industry," said Mark Reuss, a GM vice president of product development. "We intend to invest significantly to further grow the talent base and capabilities already established by the Cruise team."

Cruise's site is currently a little light on content. Other than a splash screen on the homepage, the site offers nothing beyond a series of job listings, most of which are engineering-based positions in San Francisco.