Honda Buys Into GM’s Cruise to Help Build Level 5 Autonomous Vehicles

GM Cruise front end 1 photo
Photo: GM
Starting next year, General Motors plans to make a triumphant comeback to the front line of motoring with the introduction of its first self-driving car.
Announced in March 2019 as a Level 5 machine, meaning it will have no steering wheel, pedals or manual controls, the soon-to-be Cruise is a project interesting enough for investors from within and outside the industry.

In June, the SoftBank Vision Fund, a Japanese financial conglomerate, announced it is investing $2.25 billion to support the development and large-scale production of the model. This week, another Japanese company announced a similar move.

Carmaker Honda said on Wednesday it will pump $2 billion over the next 12 years in Cruise, and also made a $750 million equity investment in the project.

But more importantly, the Japanese will help develop the car and “explore global opportunities for commercial deployment of the Cruise network.”

“Honda chose to collaborate with Cruise and General Motors based on their leadership in autonomous and electric vehicle technology and our shared vision of a zero-emissions and zero-collision world,” said in a statement Seiji Kuraishi, Honda’s Executive Vice President.

“We will complement their strengths through our expertise in space efficiency and design to develop the most desirable and effective shared autonomous vehicle.”

Like all companies working on such technologies, Honda and GM plan to deploy the Cruise for mobility services and perhaps even delivery.

The first generation of the Cruise is scheduled to enter production soon at the Orion Township plant. No other details on what the vehicle is all about were announced, apart from the fact that it will be entirely electric and autonomous.

The self-driving craze which seems to have engulfed the auto industry is fueled by hopes that car sharing and similar services would be the perfect market for such vehicles.

Even so, a study by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), Level 4 and 5 systems will constitute only 4 percent of new vehicles sold on the global market by 2030.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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