The second-biggest car manufacturer in the world, General Motors, clearly believes in a future of autonomous vehicles. GM just invested one billion dollars in the San Francisco-based startup Cruise Automation. The startup is building a computer system that can retrofit existing vehicles, adding self-driving technology to them.“We believe this is the best path forward to implement cruise tech at a massive scale…this is a ground-breaking and necessary step toward rapidly commercializing autonomous vehicle technology,” Cruise founder Kyle Vogt said in an interview with TechCrunch. And indeed, GM seems to be a match in heaven for the two-year-old startup.
GM sold almost ten million vehicles last year. Competitors like Google have said that their models are far from being ready for the global market – their technology is at least five years away from commercial availability. Others, like Tesla, are developing their own technology for autonomous driving. GM could overtake them all with the help of Cruise Automation, provided it works.
TechCrunch says that if GM can successfully integrate Cruise’s technology, it could have ready to go self-driving cars in just a couple of years. At that point, regulatory hurdles might be bigger than technological ones. Even if GM, or anyone else for that matter, manages to bring out a self-driving car soon, it will have to go through governments for a country-wide permission first.