With the news of Waymo massively enlarging its fleet still fresh, another autonomous car company is making moves.
Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company, Softbank, and GM have joined forces to drive development of autonomous vehicles. Softbank Vision Fund will invest $2.25 billion into GM Cruise that will be made in two tranches. The first tranche at the closing of the transaction at $900 million, and second tranche of $1.35 billion once the Cruise AVs are ready for commercial deployment. This will give Softbank Vision Fund a 19.6% equity stake in GM Cruise.
GM will also invest $1.1 billion into Cruise at the close of the transaction. This brings the investment value of Cruise to $11.5 billion. Not bad considering GM bought the startup for an undisclosed amount, but rumors state anywhere from $500 million to over $1 billion (but not by much over).
Currently GM Cruise is operating a fleet of autonomous Chevy Bolt EVs in San Francisco that provide an autonomous ride-hailing service to its employees. The fleet is reportedly less than 200 vehicles currently (compared to Waymo’s 600, plus 62,000 minivans and 20,000 I-Paces on order).
According to GM, these investments will provide the necessary capital to reach commercialization by the beginning of 2019. Obviously GM has the resources to crank out cars, all that is left is to make sure the system is as perfect as possible.