“Honda will work with Cruise and GM to develop an innovative, space-efficient autonomous vehicle that delivers an exceptional experience and minimizes congestion on crowded city streets”
Honda has committed to investing some $2 billion (£1.5 billion) into the development of a new autonomous car that will be designed in partnership with General Motors (GM) and Cruise.
San Francisco-based Cruise was founded in 2013 with a mission of “designing the world’s best autonomous vehicles”. It was bought by GM for $1 billion in 2016.
GM claims it will launch a no steering-wheel, no-pedal driverless car in 2019.
Honda GM Deal: “They’re Bringing Chips, Dip, and $2.75 Billion”
Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt wrote: “Just four months ago we announced that SoftBank agreed to invest $2.25 billion in Cruise. Today we’re announcing that Honda is also joining the party. They’re bringing chips, dip, and $2.75 billion.
Today’s announcement sees Honda commit to two things: first they have bought a minority share in Cruise for £576 million ($750 million). Secondly they are investing £1.5 billion over the next 12 years into Cruise’s ambitions to deliver autonomous vehicles for commercial deployment.
Cruise and GM plan to develop a purpose-built autonomous vehicle that can be manufactured at high volume for global deployment.
General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said: “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.”
“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.
Honda GM and Cruise
In a Medium blog post today, Cruise founder and CEO Kyle Vogt commented that: “We made the decision a couple of years ago to shave years off our timeline and build our first wave of self-driving cars by starting with GM’s existing proven electric vehicle platform.”
“We’re now manufacturing them on a production assembly line, which enables us to work through the issues unique to manufacturing self-driving cars, to make iterative improvements, and to significantly de-risk our path to scale.”
In an older post Mr Vogt highlighted the work the company is doing to redesign the LIDAR sensors utilised on the autonomous cars and stated that: “By collapsing the entire sensor down to a single chip, we’ll reduce the cost of each LIDAR on our self-driving cars by 99%.”
Mark Hung Research VP of AI and IoT at Gartner commented to Computer Business Review that: “Three megatrends have been driving the automobile industry in the last few years: electrification, ridesharing, and autonomy. Few automakers have the scale and resources to tackle these by themselves.”
“This investment is another example of industry collaboration that will be required to take on both the challenges and opportunities that autonomous navigation presents.”