Could this be a match made in heaven?
The race is on to be the first to market with an autonomous car. Many of your best-loved brands are trying, including Volkswagen that promises an autonomous car by 2021. But a new partnership between GM and Honda looks like a strong contender to produce a fully autonomous car.
The two automakers will be working with a company called Cruise, which recently revealed a self-driving concept based on the Chevy Bolt with no pedals or steering wheel. Honda has also been hard at work developing autonomous technology using a ghost town to test new prototypes.
The goal of the partnership is to "develop a purpose-built autonomous vehicle for Cruise that can serve a wide variety of use cases and be manufactured at high volume for global deployment." Cruise, GM, and Honda will also collaborate to find commercial uses for the Cruise network (likely as taxis). Honda will invest $2 billion over 12 years to develop the car along with a $750 million investment in Cruise. With the added investment from Honda, Cruise is now valued at $14.6 billion as a company.
Honda and GM both issued statements about how the new partnership will help guide the future of autonomous vehicles.
"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,” said General Motors Chairman 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.”
“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,” said Honda Executive Vice President and Representative Director COO Seiji Kuraishi. “We will complement their strengths through our expertise in space efficiency and design to develop the most desirable and effective shared autonomous vehicle.”