CEO and co-founder of Cruise Automation, Kyle Vogt, has one goal: deploy self-driving cars as safely and quickly as possible. To do this, he realized the acquisition of his start-up company was likely forthcoming, and General Motors stepped up.
“Working inside of a large company has not been smooth sailing,” Vogt said. “It took us probably six months to a year to really figure out how to work well together and to achieve what we have now, which is mutual respect.”
After a bumpy ride—Vogt commented GM brass likely thought of the Silicon Valley start-up as “young jerks”—things have certainly smoothed out. Each side now truly recognizes the benefits each bring to the table. GM knows how to build a car; Cruise Automation knows a thing or two about the software and engineering required to give an autonomous car brains.
“We identified that the folks with decades of experience building cars really know what they’re talking about when it comes to assembly plants and how they put things together,” Vogt said.
“Over time I think we’ve developed a mutual understanding and figured out when it comes to software that’s really complex and needs lots of cycles of iteration to achieve the level of perfection you need to replace a human driver that we should leverage Silicon Valley talent and the people at Cruise to do some of that work.”
With newfound respect, the fruits of hard work will likely come sooner rather. GM and Cruise are adamant its self-driving cars will be on the road before most believe is possible.