GM Buys Software Company
GM has hopes of speeding the development of self-driving cars, has now acquired a small software company and has been testing vehicles on the streets of San Francisco, and other cities.
The Detroit automaker says it purchased Cruise Automation, a 40-person firm that was founded just three years ago. The move, coupled with GM’s in-house research, should help the company in its race with Google and others to have autonomous cars start transporting people on public roadways.
GM wouldn’t give a timetable for rolling out the technology, but President Dan Ammann said it would happen as soon as the company can demonstrate that the cars are ready.
“It’s our view that driverless technology will be demonstrably safer than the human driver.” Ammann said in a recent interview.
Cruise Automation, along with Google, is among the few companies with permits to test the cars, said Kyle Vogt, the company’s founder and CEO. The company is working to tackle the biggest obstacles to autonomous cars – seeing the lane lines in bad weather and integrating data from cameras and other sensors so the cars make the right decisions on the road, Vogt said.
GM wouldn’t disclose the purchase price of the deal, which was announced last week, but it said all Cruise Automation employees will join GM and work as a separate unit, and there are plans to hire more people.