Cruise – which was acquired by General Motors in 2016 – will collaborate with Microsoft on software, hardware, and manufacturing development.
Microsoft has invested heavily in autonomous driving firm Cruise, initiating a alliance that will “bring together [shared] software and hardware engineering excellence, cloud computing capabilities, and manufacturing know-how.”
The software giant made its initial contribution as part of a recent US$2 billion (AU$2.6 billion) funding round, which reportedly lifted the start-up’s market value above US$30 billion (AU$39 billion).
General Motors (GM) retains its controlling share in Cruise, having acquired the company for just over US$1 billion (AU$1.3 billion) back in 2016.
GM Chairman and CEO, Mary Barra, said: “Microsoft is a great addition to the team as we drive toward a future world of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. Microsoft will help us accelerate the commercialisation of Cruise’s all-electric, self-driving vehicles and help GM realise even more benefits from cloud computing as we launch 30 new electric vehicles globally by 2025 and create new businesses and services to drive growth.”
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In January 2020 Cruise unveiled its first fully autonomous prototype, known as the Origin (shown above).
The six-seater shuttle bus was built in collaboration with Japanese manufacturer Honda, which is also a substantial investor in the project.
It is unclear when Cruise intends to roll out its first road legal vehicles, however the latest spate of funding undoubtably brings the company to the forefront of the autonomous tech industry, alongside the likes of Waymo and Zoox.