General Motors’ subsidiary Cruise has acquired a rival autonomous car start-up called Voyage for an undisclosed price.
Voyage is a San Francisco-based start-up that is working on an autonomous ride-hailing service for retirement communities. Through its acquisition of Voyage, Cruise will receive access to the company’s proprietary Commander self-driving AI system, Shield collision mitigation system and Telessist remote assistance solution. Cruise will also benefit from Voyage’s deep talent pool of engineers and software developers.
As part of the acquisition, Voyage founder and CEO Oliver Cameron will join cruise as its vice president of product, working alongside Cruise founder and CTO Kyle Vogt and CEO Dan Ammann.
“Voyage’s approach has always been to leverage our limited resources to deliver a product that restores mobility to those who need it most: senior citizens,” the company said in a statement. “We’ve made tremendous progress towards this goal, moving countless senior citizens around their communities. Now at Cruise, we are thrilled to have the substantial resources to eventually serve not just senior citizens, but every possible demographic who stands to benefit from self-driving services.”
While Voyage has experience operating in retirement communities, Cruise does not plan to pursue this side of the business in the immediate future. Cruise spokesman Ray Wert said it will move beyond retirement communities when integrating Voyage’s operations into its own, adding that the strategy of moving senior citizens is “not on our immediate road map.”
Cruise is currently working to develop the Origin robotaxi. The company hopes to eventually launch a fully driverless ride-hailing service with the Origin and compete with established rivals like Uber and Lyft. With a fully driverless ride-hailing vehicle, the operator would not have to fork over a percentage of the profits to a human driver, which could potentially make Cruise more profitable than a traditional ride-hailing company like Uber.
In addition to GM, Cruise is also backed by Honda, Microsoft, Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund and investment management firm T. Rowe Price.