Cruise (autonomous vehicle)
|Dan Ammann (CEO)|
Number of employees
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", to $580 million to over $1 billion. 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. Cruise forms the core of GM's self-driving efforts. 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.
After it successfully graduated from Y-Combinator, a startup accelerator that mentors up-and-coming entrepreneurs, Cruise was acquired by GM in March 2016. Upon acquisition, Cruise had around 40 employees. In a September 2016 interview with Darrell Etherington at the San Francisco TechCrunch Disrupt conference, Vogt confirmed that the company had over 100 employees. 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.
Cruise initially focused on developing direct-to-consumer kits to retrofit vehicles with limited self-driving capabilities. In 2015, Cruise changed its strategy and began writing software to be used for fully self-driving vehicles. 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. 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 November 2018, the company got a new CEO, Dan Ammann, who had been a president of GM before accepting this position. Cruise raised an additional $1.15 billion in new equity in May 2019, bringing its total valuation to $19 billion. In January 2021 Microsoft, Honda and institutional investors invested further $2 billion in combined new equity bringing the valuation to $30 billion.
In September 2021, Cruise received a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to provide driverless taxi rides in the state. The permit allows the company to provide the service without the inclusion of safety drivers - staff that would accompany the vehicle and take control of it if necessary.
In November 2021, Cruise co-founder Kyle Vogt took the first driverless taxi drive in the company's history. 
Testing and development
Cruise's Chevy Bolt electric vehicles are manufactured at the Orion Township assembly plant in Michigan with "...drive control algorithms and artificial intelligence created by Cruise." 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. 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.
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. 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."
Also in July 2017, Cruise announced "Cruise Anywhere," a program for San Francisco-based employees to use self-driving cars as a rideshare service.
In January 2020, the company exhibited the Cruise Origin, a Level 4–5 driverless vehicle, intended to be used for a ride hailing service. The Origin is purpose-built as a self-driving vehicle, rather than retrofitted from a non-autonomous vehicle, and contains no manual steering controls. Costing approximately $50,000 to manufacture at scale, the vehicle is all-electric and designed to have a one-million-mile lifespan. Cruise announced that future Origin vehicles would be manufactured at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant. In October 2020, the California Department of Motor Vehicles gave Cruise a permit to test fully driverless vehicles. Cruise began testing vehicles without a human safety driver present on the streets of San Francisco in December 2020. On January 20, 2021, Honda announced a partnership with Cruise to bring the Origin to Japan as part of Honda's future Mobility as a Service (MaaS) business.
In May 2021 Cruise announced they expected mass production of the Origin driverless shuttle would commence in 2023. In June 2021 Cruise announced it had secured a $5 billion line of credit from General Motors to assist with commercialization and that it had begun assembly of 100 pre-production Origin vehicles for validation testing. Permits for testing were issued by the State of California to Cruise in the same month.
- Wayland, Michael (May 14, 2020). "GM's self-driving unit Cruise to cut 8% of staff". CNBC. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
- "GM's Cruise employees test-ride startup's robot cars". San Francisco Chronicle. August 9, 2017. p. C3.
- Matthew DeBord (July 21, 2016). "GM paid a lot less for Cruise Automation than everyone thought". Business Insider.
- Dan Primack; Kirsten Korosec (March 11, 2016). "GM Buying Self-Driving Tech Startup for More Than $1 Billion". Fortune.
- Horatiu Boeriu (September 19, 2015). "These carmakers have licenses to test autonomous cars in California". BMWBLOG.
- David R. Baker; Carolyn Said (July 14, 2017). "How the Bay Area took over the self-driving car business". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Michael Wayland (June 19, 2017). "GM lets its autonomous unit be autonomous". Automotive News.
- Erin Griffith (September 22, 2016). "Driven in the Valley: The Startup Founders Fueling GM's Future". Fortune.
- Life Tips from Kyle Vogt of Cruise at Disrupt SF. September 14, 2016.
- Cadie Thompson (June 28, 2017). "GM wants the era of self-driving cars to be led by women". Business Insider.
- "GM's Cruise unveils its first driverless vehicle". BBC News. January 22, 2020.
- "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.
- "GM's Cruise gets $2.25B from SoftBank's Vision Fund, $1.1B from GM". TechCrunch. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
- "Honda to Invest $2.75 Billion in GM's Self-Driving Car Unit". Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- "Cruise Automation taps GM president Dan Ammann as its new CEO". TechCrunch. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
- Hawkins, Andrew J. (May 7, 2019). "GM's self-driving division Cruise raises another $1.15 billion". The Verge. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
- Marshall, Aarian (May 7, 2019). "Cruise's $1 Billion Infusion Shows the Stakes in Self-Driving Tech". Wired. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
- Wayland, Michael (January 19, 2021). "Microsoft is investing and partnering with GM's Cruise on self-driving cars". CNBC. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
- Korosec, Kirsten (March 15, 2021). "Cruise acquires self-driving startup Voyage". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
- Hawkins, Andrew J. (September 30, 2021). "Cruise gets the green light to give driverless rides to passengers in San Francisco". The Verge. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
- Bellan, Rebecca (November 3, 2021). "Cruise launches driverless robotaxi service in San Francisco". TechCrunch. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
- Alan Ohnsman (April 4, 2017). "GM's Cruise Poised To Add 1,100 Silicon Valley Self-Driving Car Tech Jobs". Forbes.
- Darrell Etherington (September 14, 2016). "Cruise has around 30 self-driving test cars on roads right now". TechCrunch.
- Melissa Burden (January 19, 2017). "GM's Cruise Automation releases self-driving Bolt video". The Detroit News.
- Andrew J. Hawkins (January 19, 2017). "Watch GM's self-driving car navigate the streets of San Francisco". The Verge.
- Full Throttle on Self-Driving Cars. July 17, 2017.
- Howard, Bill (January 23, 2020). "GM's Cruise Origin Is an Autonomous Vehicle From the Future". Extreme Tech. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
- Baldwin, Roberto (January 22, 2020). "Cruise Unveils Origin, a Self-Driving Vehicle with No Steering Wheel or Pedals". Car and Driver. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
- Hawkins, Andrew J. (January 21, 2020). "Exclusive Look at Cruise's First Driverless Car Without a Steering Wheel or Pedals". The Verge. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
- Priddle, Alisa (January 22, 2020). "GM's Cruise Origin Self-Driving Pod Has No Steering Wheel, No Pedals, and No Driver". MotorTrend. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
- Wayland, Michael; Kolodny, Lora (January 23, 2020). "Debut of GM's Cruise Origin shows the future of ride-sharing, autonomous vehicles is a box". CNBC. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
- Hawkins, Andrew J. (January 27, 2020). "GM will spend $2.2 billion to build electric and autonomous vehicles at Detroit plant". The Verge. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
- Hawkins, Andrew J. (October 16, 2020). "GM rebrands its Detroit-Hamtramck plant as 'Factory Zero' for electric and autonomous vehicles". The Verge. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
- Hawkins, Andrew J. (December 9, 2020). "Cruise is now testing fully driverless cars in San Francisco". The Verge. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
- Said, Carolyn (December 9, 2020). "Cruise deploys true robot cars in S.F. — no backup drivers behind wheel". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
- "Honda, Cruise and GM Take Next Steps Toward Autonomous Vehicle Mobility Service Business in Japan" (Press release). Japan: Honda Global. January 20, 2021. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
- "Cruise expects GM to begin production of new driverless vehicle in early 2023". May 13, 2021. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
- "GM-backed Cruise secures $5 billion credit line as it prepares to launch self-driving robotaxis (www.cnbc.com)". June 15, 2021. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
- "California will allow GM-backed Cruise to transport passengers in driverless test vehicles (www.cnbc.com)". June 4, 2021. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
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