Microsoft has joined General Motors, Honda and several other institutional investors in making a combined new equity investment of more than $2 billion in Cruise, bringing the post-money valuation of the autonomous vehicle company to roughly $30 billion.
In addition to the capital investment, Microsoft has also committed to a long-term strategic relationship with Cruise that will help accelerate the commercialization of the Cruise Origin robotaxi. In a statement, Cruise said that GM, Honda and Microsoft “will bring together their software and hardware engineering excellence, cloud computing capabilities, manufacturing know-how and partner ecosystem to transform transportation to create a safer, cleaner and more accessible world for everyone.”
“Our mission to bring safer, better and more affordable transportation to everyone isn’t just a tech race – it’s also a trust race,” added Cruise CEO Dan Ammann. “Microsoft, as the gold standard in the trustworthy democratization of technology, will be a force multiplier for us as we commercialize our fleet of self-driving, all-electric, shared vehicles.”
One of the most important contributions Microsoft will make to Cruise’s self-driving car project will be through its cloud and edge computing platform, Azure. The cloud computing platform will allow Cruise to commercialize the Origin and other autonomous vehicle projects at scale, serving as the underlying framework for the network of Cruise autonomous vehicles.
“Advances in digital technology are redefining every aspect of our work and life, including how we move people and goods,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “As Cruise and GM’s preferred cloud, we will apply the power of Azure to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream.”
Cruise is currently testing a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EV-based test vehicles on public streets in San Francisco with the eventual goal of launching a ride-hailing platform akin to Uber using Origin driverless robotaxis. The automaker believes a service like this will not only be highly profitable, but can also help reduce crashes and congestion in busy city centers and metropolitan areas.
The Cruise Origin is expected enter production at GM’s Factory Zero plant within the next two to three years.