San Francisco-based Company, Cruise Automation, was purchased by GM for $1 Billion in March.
Although many are still disappointed over the lack of hovermobiles in 2016, there is no doubt that vehicle technology is becoming more innovative than ever before. In March of this year, General Motors (GM) acquired the San Francisco-based company known as Cruise Automation for $1 billion. Cruise has developed unique software specializing in autonomous vehicle technology. In easier terms, this groundbreaking application allows cars to drive themselves without a driver. GM president, Dan Amman, made a statement earlier last month regarding the purchase of this driverless technology, “Fully autonomous vehicles can bring our customers enormous benefits in terms of greater convenience, lower cost and improved safety for their daily mobility needs.”
Created in 2013, Cruise was developed by founders, Kyle Vogt and Daniel Kan. They started to test the software’s accuracy in the diverse landscape of San Francisco evaluating its capacity to adjust to weather conditions and traffic. Prior to Cruise, Vogt held a fair share of success selling his former startup, Twitch, to Amazon for nearly $1 billion in 2014. On the other hand, Kan faced trials and tribulations that would put any aspiring entrepreneur’s confidence to the test. According to an article written in Entrepreneur he was denied employment by 33 employees during his senior year in College. After tossing a collection of restaurant apps down the drain, he launched a mobile house-cleaning service named Exec. This quickly became a trending platform in his region and was acquired by industry leader Handy in January of 2014. It wasn’t until Vogt and Kan collaborated on a concept for autonomous driving that strategies were put into motion.
The Cruise website shows no information on the internal components of Cruise but in a previous interview with Inc., Kan and Vogt accompanied journalists on a test drive revealing how the technology worked. Below the steering wheel is a small device that controls range of motion, brakes and accelerator. The sensors on this apparatus observe highway markings while strategically ensuring that the car stays in the center of the lane. When approached by vehicles on the side or in front, it intuitively adjusted to keep a safe distance. The senses programmed into the software are much more precise than that of humans waiving any chance of road rage or intoxication. Still, Interviewers mentioned how staffers in the backseat looked apprehensive while Vogt looked cool and collected demonstrating the early prototype. He assured Inc. that within 3 years no one will even consider purchasing a vehicle without integrating Cruise into its functionality.
This is a huge step forward for innovative vehicle technology and the early careers for dozens of Cruise employees. GM has also been playing their cards right winning the jackpots of a strategic alliance with Lyft and its recent Cruise acquisition. Still part of Detroit’s automotive monopoly, this move has the capability of refining the future of personal mobility in American society. GM executive vice president, Mark Reuss stated, “Cruise provides our company with a unique technology advantage that is unmatched in our industry. We intend to invest significantly to further grow the talent base and capabilities already established by the Cruise team.”
Main photo: General Motors President Dan Ammann (right) with Cruise Automation co-founders Kyle Vogt (center) and Daniel Kan (left).