Over the weekend, General Motors went on a bit of a spending spree: as part of the growing suite of self-driving car companies that it has purchased, GM can now call San Francisco-based Cruise Automation its own. The two-year-old startup cost GM — one of the world’s oldest, largest, and most storied automotive brands — a cool US$1 billion.
Recode covers how Cruise Automation was developed from the ground up from an idea to a working prototype, and before its buyout by GM was offering its first consumer device for sale. The RP-1 was a US$10,000, roof-mounted sensor package, with connected PC for processing sensor data in the boot, and steering augmentations designed specifically for the previous-generation Audi A4.
There are still plenty of jobs going at Cruise, including in the fields of machine learning and computer vision — two areas where autonomous driving has come a long way recently with the help of companies like MobileEye and Nvidia. CEO of Cruise, Kyle Vogt, didn’t want to comment on the acquisition — beyond a quick tweet:
Great day! Now back to work.
— Kyle Vogt (@kvogt) March 11, 2016