SoftBank commits $2.25bn to General Motors' self-driving car division

The Japanese multinational will also take a 19.6% stake in GM Cruise

SoftBank has announced it's invested $2.25 billion into General Motors' self-driving car division, GM Cruise, to help commercialise the technology GM is developing and make it one of the frontrunners in the autonomous car space.

General Motors said it will also invest $1.1 billion in GM Cruise, offering a significant investment for the company's AV technologies and allowing it to take on the likes of Google and others already innovating in the space.

"Our Cruise and GM teams together have made tremendous progress over the last two years," said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. "Teaming up with SoftBank adds an additional strong partner as we pursue our vision of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion."

The investment from SoftBank will come in stages, with the first $900 million arriving immediately after the deal closes. When the technology is ready for commercial deployment, the additional $1.35 billion will be available to GM, subject to regulatory approval. This is expected to happen at the beginning of 2019, GM said.

"GM has made significant progress toward realizing the dream of completely automated driving to dramatically reduce fatalities, emissions and congestion," said Michael Ronen, managing partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers.

"The GM Cruise approach of a fully integrated hardware and software stack gives it a unique competitive advantage. We are very impressed by the advances made by the Cruise and GM teams, and are thrilled to help them lead a historic transformation of the automobile industry."

As part of the agreement, SoftBank will acquire a 19.6% stake in GM Cruise.

"We're excited to be joining forces with a tech leader who shares our belief that AV technology will change the world," said GM President Dan Ammann. "We look forward to partnering with SoftBank as we work toward deploying this technology safely and in massive scale."

Image: Shutterstock

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