Microsoft Invests in GM’s Cruise Self-Driving Cars Unit, Big Time01/20/2021
Microsoft is the latest big name to invest in Cruise, the division of General Motors devoted to self-driving cars and developing autonomous tech. The latest round of investment—a $2 billion pool from contributors Microsoft, GM, Honda, and some other institutional investors—will be used to speed up the commercialization of Cruise’s robo-fleet.
GM and Cruise say they have entered into a long-term relationship with Microsoft, kinda like putting a ring on it. This tryst brings together software and hardware engineering, cloud computing capabilities, and manufacturing know-how, the companies said in announcing the news.
“Our mission to bring safer, better and more affordable transportation to everyone isn’t just a tech race – it’s also a trust race,” said Cruise CEO Dan Ammann. “Microsoft, as the gold standard in the trustworthy democratization of technology, will be a force multiplier for us as we commercialize our fleet of self-driving, all-electric, shared vehicles.”
Cruise Origin Will Benefit
Cruise developed the Origin, a ride-sharing electric pod that can seat six. Plans are to create a self-driving delivery van version of the Origin, as well. The vehicle will be built at GM’s Hamtramck plant in metro Detroit, in a facility devoted to building electric vehicles. It is where the 2022 GMC Hummer EV fullsize electric pickup will be assembled, as well.
Cruise will use Microsoft’s Azure computing platform to help manage its network of self-driving vehicles. The data stored in the cloud can include maps, routes, and the logistics needed to manage a fleet of robo-taxis or robo-delivery vans. In turn, as Cruise’s preferred cloud provider, Microsoft gains expertise it can use to entice more automotive customers.
The San Francisco-based Cruise says it is now valued at $30 billion. GM remains the majority investor in Cruise.
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