General Motors Announces Major Investment in Autonomous Vehicle Development Expansion

Whether or not you might be ready for self-driving cars, the industry appears to be in full force.  At least, that is something we can speculate today as we see General Motors revving up production and development in this sector. The company announced, today, plans to add 1,100 jobs over the course of the next five years—and invest more than $14 million in a new San Francisco-based facility—focused solely on autonomous vehicles (also known as: self-driving cars).

The company’s autonomous vehicle operations, which is actually housed in Cruise Automation will continue to expand the development of this technology for future vehicle models.

GM Chairman and CEO, Mary Barra, notes, “Expanding our team at Cruise Automation and linking them with our global engineering talent is another important step in our work to redefine the future of personal mobility. Self-driving technology holds enormous benefits to society in the form of increased safety and access to transportation. Running our autonomous vehicle program as a start-up is giving us the speed we need to continue to stay at the forefront of the development of these technologies and the market applications.”

In addition, Cruise Automation CEO Kyle Vogt comments that “as autonomous car technology matures, our company’s talent needs will continue to increase. Accessing the world-class talent pool that the San Francisco Bay Area offers is one of the many reasons we plan to grow our presence in the state.”

Now, GM had only acquired Cruise Automation last year—for $581 million—in order to fortify the automaker’s “software development capabilities and accelerate development of self-driving vehicle technology.”  Cruise Automation, of course,was a start-up, at the time, specializing in self-driving car software.

Moving forward, then, GM Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens estimates that General Motors expects to pour about $150 million per fiscal quarter—so, approximately $600 million this year, alone—into developing autonomous vehicles.

Currently, a team of Cruise Automation engineers and General Motors engineers are testing at least 50 Chevrolet Bolt electric models equipped with self-driving technology on public roads within the Detroit metro area, the San Francisco metro area, and the Scottsdale, AZ metro area.  There is no word, yet, as to when these models could be available to the public.

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