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General Motors buys self-driving car software company for $1 billion

According to USA Today, US automotive giant, General Motors (GM), purchased a San Francisco based company, Cruise Automation. Cruise Automation is a software company dedicated entirely to self-driving car technology. The race to get self-driving cars on the roads is well and truly on, and GM’s latest purchase show they mean business.

GM declined to say how much they paid for the start-up software company, but we imagine it wasn’t cheap. It’s clear from GM’s latest acquisition that they’re stepping up a gear in terms of their self-driving car efforts, moves like this could prove crucial with self-driving cars just a few years away from public roads.

Kyle Vogt, founder of Cruise Automation, said “We have a timeline that we are not announcing today, but I will say we are moving very, very fast”.

GM expects to close the deal  in the second quarter. Doug Parks leads GM’s recently formed Autonomous Vehicle Development Team, and Cruise Automation will operate as an independent, San Francisco-based, unit within the team.

The acquisition took place last Friday, but GM’s global product chief, Mark Reuss, said the company plans “to invest significantly” in Cruise’s team, which would suggest GM’s investment is far from over.

This isn’t GM’s only recent investment, back in January they invested $500 million in Lyft, a ride-hailing firm. Experts have predicted that self-driving cars will become popular with taxi and ride-hailing companies before consumers begin buying them.

“Fully autonomous vehicles can bring our customers enormous benefits in terms of greater convenience, lower cost and improved safety for their daily mobility needs,” GM President, Dan Ammann, said in a statement.

We know Ford is investing heavily in self-driving technology, along with Google, Tesla and countless others. So, who’s going to be first past the post? Let us know what you think.

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