With hopes of speeding the development of self-driving cars, General Motors has acquired a small software company that’s been testing vehicles on the streets of San Francisco.
The Detroit automaker says it purchased Cruise Automation, a 40-person firm founded just three years ago.
The move, coupled with GM’s in-house research, should help the company in the race for autonomous cars.
GM wouldn’t give a date to expect the technology, but president Dan Ammann said it would happen as soon as the cars are ready.
“It’s our view that driverless technology will be demonstrably safer than the human driver,” said New Zealand-born Ammann.
Cruise Automation, along with Google, is among the few companies with permits from the state of California to test the cars, said Kyle Vogt, the company founder and CEO.
Cruise reported one crash to the state Department of Motor Vehicles in which an autonomous car rear-ended a city of San Francisco parking enforcement vehicle. Vogt said the car’s backup human driver had taken control of the vehicle when it crashed.
GM wouldn’t disclose the purchase price and said all Cruise Automation employees will join GM and work as a separate unit, and there are plans to hire more people.