Updated: Feb 24
General Motors originally acquired Cruise Automation, a US self-driving technology company, back in March 2016 for an estimated $1bn. In May 2018, the Softbank’s Vision Fund announced that it will take a 19.6% stake in the business for US$2.25bn, valuing the company at $11.5bn. An initial US$900m payment, followed by US$1.35bn once the technology is commercially deployed. GM will also invest an additional US$1.1bn once Softbank’s deal is closed, bringing the total for this round of financing to US$3.35bn. GM’s CEO Mary Barra commented that teaming up with Softbank added a strong partner to purse the goal of ‘zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion’. Cruise Automation is unique in the respect that it has an integrated hardware and software stack (as opposed to just one or the other), and currently operates as the exclusive self-driving solution provider for GM. Softbank has made investments in ride-hailing companies such as DiDi (Chinese and the world’s largest ride-share company), Uber, Grab (a key player in the South-Eastern Asian markets) and brings its relationships and eco-system into this mix. Commercialization of Cruise Automation’s technology is planned for a gradual roll-out from 2019.