Recently, General Motors and Cruise announced that they have partnered with Honda on autonomous vehicle technology. Honda is going to collaborate with Cruise and General Motors by funding and developing an autonomous vehicle for Cruise that would be able to serve in a wide variety of use cases. And then the companies will prepare to manufacture it at a high volume for global deployment. Plus General Motors, Cruise, and Honda will look into global opportunities for commercial deployment of the Cruise network.
Honda is planning to contribute about $2 billion over 12 years as part of the initiatives along with a $750 million equity investment in Cruise, making it a $2.75 billion total commitment. Along with this investment and the $2.25 billion that SoftBank made earlier this year, this brings Cruise’s post-money valuation to $14.6 billion. The $750 million investment gives Honda a 5.7% stake in Cruise.
“With the backing of General Motors, SoftBank and now Honda, Cruise is deeply resourced to accomplish our mission to safely deploy autonomous technology across the globe,” said Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt in a statement. “The Honda partnership paves the way for massive scale by bringing a beautiful, efficient, and purpose-built vehicle to our network of shared autonomous vehicles.”
SoftBank and Toyota also recently announced a partnership where consumers and businesses will be able to order transportation on demand. The joint venture formed between the two companies is known as Monet Technologies. Monet Technologies will develop ride-hailing and self-driving car technologies for Japanese public agencies and private companies. Then a rollout of autonomous vehicles is expected to happen in 2020.
General Motors acquired San Francisco-based Cruise in 2016. Cruise is known for developing an autopilot system for existing cars. Cruise’s autonomous technology is capable of handling city driving. And Cruise has been testing its technology in Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles in San Francisco for a while now.
“Honda chose to collaborate with Cruise and General Motors based on their leadership in autonomous and electric vehicle technology and our shared vision of a zero-emissions and zero-collision world,” added Honda EVP and Representative Director COO Seiji Kuraishi in a statement. “We will complement their strengths through our expertise in space efficiency and design to develop the most desirable and effective shared autonomous vehicle.”
Google has a similar partnership in place with Waymo, Fiat Chrysler, Jaguar Land Rover, and AutoNation. Waymo and Jaguar announced a deal earlier this year where the companies will build tens of thousands of electric I-Pace SUVs to complement Google’s line of self-driving taxis.
According to Automotive News, Honda is going to handle the design engineering of the interior and exterior of the robotaxis. And Bank of America Merrill Lynch research analyst John Murphy wrote a note to investors that this partnership may provide GM with access to the Japanese market for deploying its Cruise autonomous vehicle fleet in Japan in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“This is the logical next step in General Motors and Honda’s relationship, given our joint work on electric vehicles, and our close integration with Cruise,” explained GM and CEO Mary Barra. “Together, we can provide Cruise with the world’s best design, engineering and manufacturing expertise, and global reach to establish them as the leader in autonomous vehicle technology – while they move to deploy self-driving vehicles at scale.”