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GM's Self-Driving Arm Cruise Automation Signs Lease for a New Office in Southern California

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【Summary】​San Francisco-based Cruise Automation, the startup working with General Motors to develop its self-driving technology, is expanding its presence to Southern California. The self-driving arm of GM is reportedly moving into a two-story building in Pasadena, California.

FutureCar Staff    Feb 25, 2019 7:03 PM PT
GM's Self-Driving Arm Cruise Automation Signs Lease for a New Office in Southern California
A Cruise self-driving vehicle in San Francisco

San Francisco-based Cruise Automation, the startup working with General Motors to develop its self-driving technology, is expanding its presence to Southern California.

The self-driving arm of GM is reportedly moving into a two-story building at 465 North Halstead Street, near the Hastings Village Shopping Center in Pasadena, according to information from commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE.

Denver, Colorado-based EverWest Real Estate Investors bought the 239,000-square-foot building in 2016 for just under $67 million from Divco Real Estate and Edgewood Partners, who bought it for $36 million three years before that, according to real estate media company The Real Deal.

GM Cruise signed a lease for 47,051 square feet of office space in the building.

"This lease signing is a major win for the City of Pasadena," said CBRE's Kevin Duffy in a prepared statement. "Capturing yet another significant engineering/technology tenant provides further evidence that Pasadena is an extremely desirable and ever-growing tech hub in Southern California with access to intellectual capital."

GM purchased autonomous driving startup Cruise for $1 billion in 2016 to jumpstart its own self-driving car development. Since then, Cruise received a $2.25 billion investment from Japan's SoftBank, followed by $2 billion investment from Honda Motor Co. in October 2018. The latest investments put Cruise's valuation at over $14 billion.

Softbank is also a major investor in ride-hailing company Uber and owns a 15 percent stake in the company.

gm-cruise-av-final.jpg

General Motors and Cruise developed a self-driving Chevy Bolt with no driver controls.

Cruise is one of the many tech companies partnering with established automakers such as GM, as automakers look for ways to speed up the development of self-driving technology. The stakes are high with billions of dollars pouring in.

In 2017, Mobileye was purchased by Intel for $15.3 billion, giving the chipmaker access to the automotive industry, that will presumably use chips supplied by Intel to power autonomous driving hardware. German automaker BMW is working with Mobileye on a autonomous driving platform.

Cruise is also expanding to the Seattle area. In November 2018, the company announced it was opening an office and hiring in the Seattle area. The company said it might hire up to 200 engineers in the first year of operation.

Cruise is currently testing its self-driving technology using a fleet of autonomous driving Chevy Bolt EVs in San Francisco. General Motors is reportedly working with Cruise to deploy a fleet of driverless Bolt EVs for use in a commercial robo-taxi service it plans to launch soon.

Cruise also announced a deal last month with food delivery company Dood Dash. Starting in early 2019, DoorDash and Cruise will test the first food deliveries using autonomous Bolt EVs in San Francisco.

In November 2018 General Motors President Dan Ammann was appointed CEO of Cruise.

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