Honda, GM Team on Self-driving Vehicles
- Honda takes $750 million stake in GM-backed Cruise
- $2 billion investment promised by Honda over 12 years
- Partnership extends GM and Honda future tech collaboration
Cruise and General Motors have a new partner to share their mission of large-scale deployment of autonomous vehicle technology. Honda will work with Cruise and GM to fund and develop a new autonomous vehicle that can be manufactured at high volume for global deployment. Beyond development of a vehicle, GM and Honda will “explore global opportunities for commercial deployment of the Cruise network.”
Honda’s committed $2.75 billion to the project, including a $750 million equity in Cruise and $2 billion in funding spread across the next 12 years.
Cruise was founded in 2013 in San Francisco, CA. The company entered Y Combinator in 2014 “to shape our vision and develop a plan to build vehicles that are completely driverless.” In 2016, Cruise and GM partnered with the goal of building the world’s largest fleet of self-driving cars. Current Cruise test vehicles are built upon the Chevrolet Bolt battery-electric vehicle, and have reached Level 4 and Level 5 autonomy.
Purpose-built platform promised
The partnership between Honda, General Motors and Cruise is targeted at accelerating the development of a new purpose-built platform for autonomous vehicles that will fully integrate the Cruise technology, which includes multiple cameras, sensors, hardware and software components.
Honda and General Motors have a history of collaboration that stretches back to 1993. More recently, the two companies began sharing development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in 2013, ultimately establishing Fuel Cell Systems Manufacturing in 2017 – a company that is planning to begin manufacturing hydrogen fuel cells in 2020. In June of 2018, GM and Honda announced that they had signed an agreement to develop battery cells and components together.
“This is the logical next step in General Motors and Honda’s relationship, given our joint work on electric vehicles, and our close integration with Cruise,” said General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Together, we can provide Cruise with the world’s best design, engineering and manufacturing expertise, and global reach to establish them as the leader in autonomous vehicle technology – while they move to deploy self-driving vehicles at scale.”
Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt added, “The Honda partnership paves the way for massive scale by bringing a beautiful, efficient, and purpose-built vehicle to our network of shared autonomous vehicles.” Along with investments from General Motors, Honda and SoftBank, the current post-money valuation of Cruise is now $14.6 billion.
As detailed by our sister site Ride, there are still many hurdles to overcome on the road to self-driving cars. More collaboration will only help get us there faster.