Walmart invests in self-driving startup Cruise
Cruise is a developer of fully autonomous driverless vehicles. Since GM’s $1bn acquisition of Cruise, GM has become a global leader in the race to deploy driverless cars at scale and is competing with co’s like Tesla, Google, and Uber for the top spot. Cruise is the only company that tests self-driving cars in the most complex urban environments, including San Francisco and Manhattan.
After Cruise successfully graduated from Y-Combinator, Cruise was acquired by GM in March 2016. 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. Since becoming part of General Motors, Cruise has been working exclusively on developing software for making GM's Chevy Bolt electric vehicle fully autonomous. Cruise is considered a pack leader in a global market that’s anticipated to hit revenue of $173.15 billion by 2023. Cruise has already driven more miles than its competitors with 450,000 in California last year, according to a report it filed with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Moreover, it launched a commercial service last year (2019) that featured as many as 2,600 driverless cars without steering wheels, brake pedals, and accelerators.
Cruise Automation chief technology officer Kyle Vogt, who held the role of CEO until January, when former GM president Dan Ammann took over, co-founded Cruise with Dan Kan in 2013. Vogt, an MIT computer science graduate and a founding employee of Justin.tv (which became Twitch), started a number of companies prior to Cruise, including Socialcam, a mobile social video app that was acquired by Autodesk for $60 million in 2012. (Amazon purchased Twitch in 2016 for $970 million.) Vogt in the past built a Power Wheels car that could drive using computer vision. And while an undergraduate at MIT, he competed with a team in the 2004 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge, a $1 million competition to develop a car that could autonomously navigate a route from Barstow, California to Primm, Nevada.
Soma invested in the Series A, before Cruise sold to GM for $1bn. Softbank’s Vision Fund recently invested $2.3bn in GM Cruise Holdings LLC and when the deal closed GM invested another $1bn in to Cruise.
Cruise was acquired by General Motors.