Before the end of the year, Cruise Automation, GM’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary, will double its staff. The company plans to add 1,000 new people to its employee roster, many of which will be engineers. To lead the hiring spree, Cruise hired Arden Hoffman, the head of human resources who helped scale Dropbox, according to TechCrunch. Cruise is also expanding its footprint in San Francisco by buying up office space that includes Dropbox’s headquarters. This will triple Cruise’s office space in the city.
The expansion in both employees and office space comes as Cruise Automation readies its autonomous ride-sharing service, which will likely launch in San Francisco later this year. General Motors acquired Cruise in 2016 when it had just 40 employees. It had grown since to 1,100 late last year. The company is scooping up talent at a quick pace, opening offices in Seattle and Pasadena in hopes of attracting the right expertise needed to design, develop, program, and engineering a self-driving car.
What puts Cruise Automation in a great position is its available capital. After Honda and SoftBank invested $5 billion in total into the company, it received a valuation of just over $14 billion. While GM acquired Cruise, Cruise itself has acquired a few companies, too. Last year, the company acquired Zippy.ai, a company that developed robots for last-mile delivery systems. However, the deal didn’t include any product or intellectual property. Instead, the acquisition was more about the talented co-founders and the team. Cruise also acquired lira sense maker Strobe.
The wave of new hires and office expansions across the west coast show how dedicated Cruise and General Motors are about future autonomous vehicles. GM is restructuring its business model for a future filled with electric and autonomous vehicles. With so many companies like Uber, Waymo, and other automakers themselves competing for qualified talent, GM’s quick expansion could help it attract the best and brightest in the industry at a time when competition is fierce in the growing AV marketplace place.