Cruise stays aloof despite General Motors’ acquisition

They say maintaining your identity in a relationship is hard, but Cruise Automation, the $1 billion self-driving startup acquired by General Motors last year, has kept a significant amount of autonomy from the Detroit-based automotive giant.

General Motors works on the development of self-driving vehicles and the installation of hardware, while Cruise installs, tests, and refines the software, according to a report from Automotive News.

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“Cruise Automation is running as a startup… Not only are they responsible for the technology, but they’re responsible for the commercialization — so the entire business,” said GM CEO Mary Barra at an event last week.

You’re perfect, don’t change

GM is trying to approach the startup like a typical Silicon Valley player, instead of incorporating all of the startup’s personnel, culture, and work into its own, as it has done with previous acquisitions.

“There’s a lot of talent at Cruise, and one of the best things about Cruise is the speed at which they operate. So when we acquired them… the last thing we wanted to do is squelch that,” said Doug Parks, head of autonomous technology at GM.

General Motors recently showed the ability to mass produce Chevrolet Bolt EVs with all of the necessary self-driving hardware. It claims to be the only manufacturer capable of doing this in the industry.

Once the Chevrolet Bolt is off the assembly line, it is shipped to San Francisco, where Cruise install the self-driving technology and add it to the fleet. In the future, Cruise may have thousands of GM cars under its fleet in every state, if a Republican bill passes through Congress.

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