is joining forces with General Motors to help develop a new autonomous vehicle that will be used by Cruise, GM's self-driving division. The two companies will then put the new vehicle into use in a "global deployment" at some unspecified date in the future.
Under the agreement, announced Wednesday, Honda will take a $750 million equity investment in Cruise and, over the next 12 years, will contribute $2 billion to the project. GM purchased Cruise Automation in 2016 and has since invested heavily in the autonomous-vehicle company.
The goal is for Honda and GM to develop a purpose-built self-driving car. Based on the teaser image above, it'll be a pod-like shuttle of some sort. But rather than a low-volume experimental fleet, the companies say they plan to manufacture the vehicle "at high volume." They'll work to find commercial opportunities to launch the vehicle worldwide. It's most likely the vehicle will be used for a ride-hailing, where customers could summon the autonomous car via smartphone app -- like Uber or Lyft but without a human driver.
Currently, Cruise is developing a self-driving car called the Cruise AV, which is a
Chevrolet Bolt EV
without a steering wheel or pedals. The vehicle is produced in Michigan.
Honda said that GM's expertise in electric vehicles and autonomy technology. In a statement, Executive Vice President and Representative Director COO Seiji Kuraishi said, "We will complement their strengths through our expertise in space efficiency and design to develop the most desirable and effective shared autonomous vehicle."
General Motors Cruise AV is more than a Bolt without a steering wheel
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