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General Motors has acquired San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle technology company Cruise Automation.

GM expects the purchase of Cruise Automation to be complete some time during the second quarter. Once all the legal paperwork is complete, Cruise Automation will become an independent part of GM’s Autonomous Vehicle Development Team and will continue to be based out of San Francisco.

According to Re/Code, the purchase of Cruise will cost the American automaker upwards of US$1 billion ($1.3 billion).

cruise-automation-sensor-pod

Cruise Automation was founded in 2013 by Kyle Vogt and Daniel Kan with the aim of selling retrofittable autopilot systems for existing cars. Prior to its purchase by GM, the Cruise website touted its RP-1 aftermarket highway autopilot box.

Priced at US$10,000 ($13,400), the RP-1 includes a roof-mounted sensor pod, a boot-installed slimline control computer, steering column motors, and an aluminium centre tunnel control dial.

The RP-1 can only be fitted to 2012 and later Audi A4 and S4s, and, at this stage, has been programmed to work exclusively on Californian highways.

General Motors President Dan Ammann (right) with Cruise Automati
Above: Cruise Automation founders Daniel Kan (left) and Kyle Vogt (centre) with GM president Dan Ammann (right).

The acquisition of Cruise Automation is the latest in a series of moves by GM to speed up its development in the field of self-driving cars.

In January this year, GM announced an investment of US$500 million ($670 million) in Uber-rival Lyft, with much of that money directed toward driverless technologies.

MORE: All our latest autonomous vehicle news




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