In addition to testing and validation of the pre-production, Cruise also needs to get autonomous rideshare certification in the US.
GM backed autonomous driving startup Cruise has announced that it has received a $5 billion credit line from GM’s financial arm, GM Financial that will help it buy thousands of Origin electric vehicles. The credit line will give Cruise $10 billion in total capital to help roll out autonomous Origin vehicles by GM.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for Cruise. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve spent time in GM’s Pre-Production Operations center where the team has started building the first batch of nearly a hundred pre-production Origins. These will undergo an intensive testing and validation process this summer. Seeing them up close and in person is absolutely thrilling. I’ve also just visited GM’s 4+ million sq ft Factory ZERO plant where the machinery is being installed to build the Origin by the tens of thousands,” said Cruise CEO Dan Ammann.
Cruise was founded in 2013 in San Francisco however in 2016 it was acquired by GM. Originally it was focused on turning the Bolt EV into a fully autonomous vehicle backed by $14 million in funding. But this relationship with GM didn’t stop Cruise from taking in funding from outside including some that could be perceived as rivals.
The Cruise Origin is taking its next steps.
— cruise (@Cruise) June 15, 2021
For instance, it took in $750 million from Honda which was followed by another $1.15 billion investment by the Japanese giant alongside some institutional investors. More recently, it took in $2 billion in a round that was led by Microsoft. As a part of this deal, Microsoft Azure became Cruise’s cloud service of choice.
All of this has culminated in the Origin EV which is an autonomous vehicle that builds on the GM’s new Ultium electric battery platform. These vehicles will eventually be deployed as a part of an autonomous ride-sharing service.
Pre-production for the Origin is already underway at the GM Factory Zero facility. In addition to testing and validation of the pre-production, Cruise also needs to get autonomous rideshare certification in the US. Currently, it only has such a certification in California and has logged 2 million-plus autonomous miles in San Francisco.
Only recently it received a permit to run a test programme for a driverless autonomous ride-share service in California. “Cruise is the first entrant into the CPUC’s Driverless Pilot program, in which passengers can ride in a test vehicle that operates without a driver in the vehicle. Cruise may not charge passengers for any rides in test AVs,” said the filling, but it also means that Cruise has to go through this ordeal in every US state.