Cruise (autonomous vehicle)

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IndustrySelf-driving car
FoundedOctober 2013; 7 years ago (2013-10)
FounderKyle Vogt
Dan Kan
Key people
Dan Ammann (CEO)
ParentGeneral Motors

Cruise LLC, commonly referred to as Cruise,[1] is an American self-driving car company headquartered in San Francisco, California. Founded in 2013 by Kyle Vogt and Dan Kan, Cruise tests and develops autonomous car technology.


The earlier generation of Cruise technology, RP-1, supplemented the human driving experience by offering an autonomous on-demand feature available for the Audi A4 or S4 (2012 or later). The intention of the $10,000 kit was to eventually retrofit all vehicles into a highway autopilot system. Ultimately, Cruise determined that the greater challenge lay in conquering city driving. In January 2014, the company decided to abandon the RP-1 and produce a fully autonomous vehicle using the Nissan Leaf.

In March 2016, General Motors acquired Cruise for an undisclosed amount, although reports have placed the number from "north of $500 million",[2] to $580 million[3] to over $1 billion.[4] Cruise received a permit to test self-driving vehicle technology from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in June 2015, nine months before it was acquired by GM.[5] Cruise forms the core of GM's self-driving efforts.[6] Industry observers have noted, and GM CEO Mary Barra has stated, that GM allowed Cruise to remain responsible for both technology and commercialization, giving Cruise independence in order to avoid the pitfalls common when a large company acquires a technology startup.[7]


After it successfully graduated from Y-Combinator, a startup accelerator that mentors up-and-coming entrepreneurs, Cruise was acquired by GM in March 2016.[4] Upon acquisition, Cruise had around 40 employees.[8] In a September 2016 interview with Darrell Etherington at the San Francisco TechCrunch Disrupt conference, Vogt confirmed that the company had over 100 employees.[9] Cruise's current headcount is unknown, but multiple outlets have reported that Cruise has continued to grow rapidly. In June 2017, Mary Barra stated that Cruise has close to 200 employees.[10]

Cruise initially focused on developing direct-to-consumer kits to retrofit vehicles with limited self-driving capabilities.[8] In 2015, Cruise changed its strategy and began writing software to be used for fully self-driving vehicles.[8] The brand philosophy urges car owners to engage in shared ownership instead of individual ownership, in order to reduce environmental damage, the number of accidents, and congestion in big cities.[11] Since becoming part of General Motors, Cruise has been working exclusively on developing software for making GM's Chevy Bolt electric vehicle fully autonomous.

In April 2017, GM announced plans to invest $14 million to expand Cruise operations in California, adding an estimated 1,163 full-time employees by 2021.[12][2]

In May 2018, Cruise announced that Softbank's Vision Fund would invest $2.25 billion into the company, along with another $1.1 billion from GM itself.[13]

In October 2018, Cruise announced that Honda would be investing $750 million into the company, followed by another $2 billion over the next 12 years. [14]

In November 2018, the company got a new CEO, Dan Ammann, who had been a president of GM before accepting this position.[15]

Testing and development[edit]

A Cruise Chevrolet Bolt undergoing testing in San Francisco. The vehicle is equipped with numerous Velodyne LiDAR sensors.

Cruise's Chevy Bolt electric vehicles are manufactured at the Orion Township assembly plant in Michigan with " control algorithms and artificial intelligence created by Cruise."[16] Images of Cruise's vehicles evidence that Cruise uses Lidar, radar, and cameras on its vehicles.

As of September 2016, Cruise was conducting testing with a fleet of approximately 30 self-driving vehicles.[17] By June 2017, after GM announced the mass production of 130 new Chevy Bolts used for testing, the total number of self-driving vehicles owned by GM was estimated to be 180.[18]

As of July 2017, Cruise was conducting testing on public roads in San Francisco, Scottsdale, Arizona, and the metropolitan Detroit area. In early 2017, Cruise released a series of videos showing its self-driving vehicles navigating the streets of San Francisco.[19] In an interview with Fortune in July 2017, Vogt described the videos as "...the most technically advanced demonstrations of self-driving cars that have ever been put out there in public."[20]

Also in July 2017, Cruise announced "Cruise Anywhere," a program for San Francisco-based employees to use self-driving cars as a rideshare service.

CEO Kyle Vogt has stated that commercial deployment will occur via a ride-sharing service platform,[20] but what platform remains unknown.


  1. ^ "Cruise".
  2. ^ a b "GM's Cruise employees test-ride startup's robot cars". San Francisco Chronicle. August 9, 2017. p. C3.
  3. ^ Matthew DeBord (July 21, 2016). "GM paid a lot less for Cruise Automation than everyone thought". Business Insider.
  4. ^ a b Dan Primack; Kirsten Korosec (March 11, 2016). "GM Buying Self-Driving Tech Startup for More Than $1 Billion". Fortune.
  5. ^ Horatiu Boeriu (September 19, 2015). "These carmakers have licenses to test autonomous cars in California". BMWBLOG.
  6. ^ David R. Baker; Carolyn Said (July 14, 2017). "How the Bay Area took over the self-driving car business". San Francisco Chronicle.
  7. ^ Michael Wayland (June 19, 2017). "GM lets its autonomous unit be autonomous". Automotive News.
  8. ^ a b c Erin Griffith (September 22, 2016). "Driven in the Valley: The Startup Founders Fueling GM's Future". Fortune.
  9. ^ Life Tips from Kyle Vogt of Cruise at Disrupt SF. September 14, 2016.
  10. ^ Cadie Thompson (June 28, 2017). "GM wants the era of self-driving cars to be led by women". Business Insider.
  11. ^ "GM's Cruise unveils its first driverless vehicle". BBC News. 22 January 2020.
  12. ^ "GM Announces More Than 1100 Jobs To Expand Cruise Automation Self-Driving Operations In California". California - Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development. April 14, 2017.
  13. ^ "GM's Cruise gets $2.25B from SoftBank's Vision Fund, $1.1B from GM". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-08-24.
  14. ^ "Honda to Invest $2.75 Billion in GM's Self-Driving Car Unit". Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  15. ^ "Cruise Automation taps GM president Dan Ammann as its new CEO". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  16. ^ Alan Ohnsman (April 4, 2017). "GM's Cruise Poised To Add 1,100 Silicon Valley Self-Driving Car Tech Jobs". Forbes.
  17. ^ Darrell Etherington (September 14, 2016). "Cruise has around 30 self-driving test cars on roads right now". TechCrunch.
  18. ^ Melissa Burden (January 19, 2017). "GM's Cruise Automation releases self-driving Bolt video". The Detroit News.
  19. ^ Andrew J. Hawkins (January 19, 2017). "Watch GM's self-driving car navigate the streets of San Francisco". The Verge.
  20. ^ a b Full Throttle on Self-Driving Cars. July 17, 2017.

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