GM purchased Cruise for around $1 billion in 2016 and has since expanded the San Francisco-based company’s operations massively. It currently has 180 autonomous test prototypes roaming San Francisco’s streets and racking up miles and has also received billions in funding from a number of investors including SoftBank and Honda. In June, Cruise was valued at around $19 billion.
In addition to expanding from 40 to over 1,500 employees in just three years, Cruise also expanded into Seattle, adding 100-200 positions at its new offices in the city. The company tests in Phoenix as well.
GM also provided more insight into Cruise’s future in its Q2 earnings report. The company will miss its deadline to deploy a self-driving taxi service before the end of 2019, it recently confirmed, but is continuing to test and putting more autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EV prototypes on San Francisco streets to eventually get the service up and running.
“To deploy at large scale, Cruise will signiﬁcantly increase its testing and validation miles over the balance of 2019; increase community engagement through advertising and live events; and continue work on the development of a purpose-built autonomous vehicle – the eﬀort of hundreds of talented Cruise, GM, and Honda engineers,” GM said in the report. “This vehicle will completely reimagine the customer experience from the ground up.”
GM lost $279 million on Cruise in Q2 2019 – up about $100 million from 2018. The automaker believes the self-driving car industry could be a multi-billion dollar business one day, however, so it’s in the AV development race for a long-term payoff rather than short-term gains.