09 Oct 2018_campuscad
Honda motors will invest around $2.75 billion in GM Cruise over the next 12 years of span. $750 million will be invested upfront to acquire 5.7% equity into GM Cruise unit.
Initial aim of the Cruise was to create the retrofit unit which can be fitted on any car and it will ready to use as self driving vehicle and they developed the RP-1. But soon after understanding the city driving is the main issue for future autonomous car, company decide to use Nissan leaf to develop fully autonomous vehicle.
In 2016, GM acquired Cruise for undisclosed amount ($500 million -$1 billion) report says. Now GM Cruise is the top name in the US autonomous vehicle race along with Google Waymo.
Investment by Honda motors into GM cruise is announced by founder Kyle Vogt in blog post published on Medium.
Why Honda needs GM Cruise?
Several tech companies ranging from Google to Uber and Toyota to Daimler have started development of autonomous vehicles including fully electric vehicle automaker Tesla.
Its huge and complicated task to develop the battery power pack with good range and charging capability along with autonomous features, said GM President Dan Ammann.
Honda isn’t in the race and not closer to anybody in the autonomous vehicle development space. This investment helps Honda to keep up with the race by Using GM Cruise technology. Honda will help into manufacturing and technology transfer and speed up of the electric vehicle production of GM Cruise.
Gm Cruise has developed a fully autonomous electric prototype in last 2 years and aims to achieve level-3 autonomy by 2021. (Read here-How China left world behind EV market)
5 levels of Autonomy
Today we are driving the cars with no automation also termed as Level Zero automation. With Level One, Vehicle will assist the driver in some cases like putting extra pressure to stop the vehicles in emergency. Level 2 & 3 automation give more control to vehicle with driver assistance in accelerating, braking and monitoring the surrounding situations.
Level 4&5 vehicles able to steer, break and accelerate itself and no human assistance required.
Earlier this year Softbank invested in GM Cruise around 2.5 $billion. Softbank also tied up with Toyota to form new entity Monet Technologies to develop autonomous mobility development like ride sharing giant Uber but without drivers.
Toyota invested around $500 million into Uber to develop the self driving tech and platform will be utilized on Toyota vehicles to power the Uber ride sharing network around the world.
GM Cruise will be valued approximately $14.6 billion after Honda investment and Company aims to put the vehicles on the road by 2019. GM Cruise applied for the license to run the vehicles on the city streets of San Francisco with No pedals and steering wheel and driver.
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